Vocabulary in Today's Classroom

Vocabulary Instructional Practices for Today's Teachers

Calling all educators, parents, administrators, or anyone searching for vocabulary knowledge!

Are you wondering how to fit vocabulary knowledge into your ALREADY busy classroom schedule?

Are you looking for instructional strategies?

Are you looking to help your student become a better reader?

Here is a link to my research paper which is my basis for creating this site :


image above retrieved from: thelearningcoachonline.com

Describing the Vocabulary Gap in Classroom's Today

The Vocabulary Gap

Are you having trouble choosing academic or content specific vocabulary to teach your students?


Use the Word and Phrase Tool!

What the Word and Phrase Tool Can Do

• Provide a split-second analysis of any text that can be copied and pasted into the tool

• List all high-utility general academic words in a text

• List all discipline-specific words in a text

• For any given word in the text, list synonyms, antonyms, parts of speech, collocates (words that frequently occur with the target word), and sentences from authentic sources using the word

Have you heard of Tiers 1, 2 , and 3 words?

You can choose words to teach your students according to these 3 levels.

Tier 1 words are those that a common and easily understood. Tier 2 words are words that likely to be seen often in texts but not necessarily in everyday life. Tier 3 words are domain specific such as the word anthropologist. Tier 2 words are where most educators will base their specific vocabulary instruction because these are words they will be seen across many texts and will open up instructional opportunities for other words.

Tier Two Vocabulary Instruction
Tier Vocabulary Rap

Word Walls

Use word walls to display words that have been discovered, analyzed, and learned during workshop time or subject-specific instruction by your students.

Students can use the word wall to refer back to in order to use what a former teacher of mine used to call, "meaty" words in their writing.

Teachers can refer back to the word wall during instructional time to review word knowledge with their students.

The Word Wall: I can learn how to spell that...
Word Cheers: A Word Wall Activity

Four Square! and Concept of Definition Maps Expanding Word Knowledge

Four Square

Each square asks students for a specific type of information; in this case, each square would ask for information about a vocabulary word. This strategy helps students broaden their knowledge of the word and brainstorm ways to apply the word.

CD Map

The next strategy is the Concept of Definition Map which is more complex than the Four Square in that it requires to student’s to extend the information they learn from the word in a web-like feature. For each, level that they create, they have to elaborate on. For example, if they create a bubble or level for the definition, they would extend that into the parts of speech of the word.

Picture examples of these vocabulary learning strategies are located below! :)

Four Square Vocabulary Cards: Providing a Rich Context for New Words
Vocabulary Development with a Concept Definition Map

The Word Box!

Student choice becomes the most crucial part of robust vocabulary instruction. According to Feezell (2012), “Student choice is perhaps the single defining feature of workshop teaching”. (p. 234). A “word box” is created for students to place words of interest that they come across in their everyday lives.

This strategy gets students excited about word learning. They are excited to make a contribution to the class word box for their word to possibly be featured during instructional time!!! :)

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Word Wizard Activities

Use Word Wizard Activities to enhance your vocabulary instruction!

Classes in your grade level can compete with one another to earn points by challenging the students to participate in the following activities.

The winning class can earn a pizza or ice cream party, extra recess, no homework day, etc!

  • find a word that was studied outside the class,
  • find a word derived from the root, prefix, or suffix that was studied
  • find a situation or experience in or out of the classroom where a word studied would apply.
  • ******Students are expected to explain how they come across the word being applied in their everyday encounters.

Vocabulary Across Discipline Areas


I am a student at East Carolina University who is currently taking Read 4534. I am researching the importance of vocabulary instruction and instructional strategies for vocabulary in today's classroom. I wrote a research paper for this course and am looking forward to sharing my findings on this page to assist others interested in the world of vocabulary. Thanks for checking out my page!
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