Enriching Academic Vocabulary: Strategies for Teaching Tier Two Words to E.L.L. Students
First a clarification; Tier two words are the most important words for direct instruction because they are good indicators of a student’s progress through school. Examples of tier two words are: masterpiece, fortunate, industrious, measure, and benevolent.
A strategy for teaching vocabulary referred to as the six-step process (Marzano, 2004). It involves the following steps:
- Provide a description, explanation, or example of the new term.
- Ask students to restate the description, explanation, or example in their own words.
- Ask students to construct a picture, pictograph, or symbolic representation of the term.
- Engage students periodically in activities that help them add to their knowledge of the terms in their vocabulary notebooks.
- Periodically ask students to discuss the terms with one another.
- Involve students periodically in games that enable them to play with terms.
These studies have taught us several things about this six-step strategy. First, the strategy works at every grade level, from kindergarten to high school. Second, it works better if you use all the steps without leaving any out. In one middle school study, teachers found that the whole process enhanced students’ achievement much more than the parts of the process in isolation did. Third, although the majority of studies indicate that the process enhances student achievement, some studies indicate that it doesn’t.:
- When students copy the teacher’s explanation or description of a term instead of generating their own explanation, the results are not as strong. Ideally, student explanations should come from their own lives.
- The third step in the process is crucial—having students represent their understanding of a new term by drawing a picture, pictograph, or symbolic representation. When students do this step well, achievement soars.
- Games seem to engage students at a high level and have a powerful effect on students’ recall of the terms. Games not only add a bit of fun to the teaching and learning process, but also provide an opportunity to review the terms in a nonthreatening way. After the class has played a vocabulary game, the teacher should invite students to identify difficult terms and go over the crucial aspects of those terms in a whole-class discussion. Source: September 2009 | Volume 67 | Number 1
Teaching for the 21st Century Pages 83-84
- Reading just the front page of The New York Times every day, or just one article of your choice, can introduce you to scores of new words in context. Be sure to hightlight new words and do part 2 and 3 in the liste above
- Use this chart:
- Practice using this article; “Climate Change Is Complex. We’ve Got Answers to Your Questions.“