Vocabulary in the classroom

Make vocabulary meaningful to your students!

Students must actively use new vocabulary words through reading, writing, and speaking to drill the words into their brain. Teachers can use meaningful and fun activities in their classrooms to motivate students to use the new words they are learning. As a teacher, I will have to make sure that what I'm teaching my students has some interest to them. Not everything I teach will interest all my students all the time, however, if I can learn about my students on a personal level I can use that to my advantage in the classroom. Students need to know that the things they like and enjoy can be used in the classroom. Giving students the most exposure a teacher possibly can to new vocabulary and new concepts will help embed that new information into their long-term memory, and possibly into their consultative language!

Tiered Vocabulary

  • Tier 1 words are common, known words like big, small, house, or family
  • Tier 2 words are high frequency words that can be found in all content areas like explain, summarize, compare, and contrast.
  • Tier 3 words are low frequency words that are specific to a particular subject or field, such as tectonic plate, isotope, or metacognition.

As a teacher, I will need to explicitly teach vocabulary words that are specific to the content I am teaching, and words that are important for a student's vocabulary repertoire. This can be tricky for English Language Learners, so I will need to provide those students with meanings of words within the text, elaboration, and purposeful talk using those words. I will encourage my students to use these new vocabulary words in their everyday way of communicating.

Motivating your students

It is crucial for teachers to motivate their students in all areas of learning, but if they struggle with reading it is especially important to have effective motivating strategies. This also applies to every subject. Learning is a social process so students should have a lot of peer interaction where they can think and talk aloud. Students should be encouraged to express their ideas and discuss them with their teacher or classmates. To help motivated students to read teachers can...
  • Supply students with a variety of text
  • Allow students to choose which books they want to read
  • Turn their classroom into a coffee shop and hold a poetry night
  • Implement a reader's theater production

These are just a few of the endless strategies that teachers can use to motivate their students. Whenever I teach poetry as a teacher, I will definitely turn my classroom into a coffee house and host a poetry reading where we invite parents, teachers, administrators, and anyone else students want to have come out and hear their work!

Vocabulary Activities

Here are 3 very effective vocabulary activities that can be implemented in almost an elementary classroom! I will definitely use these in my future classroom.