Module Two Reflection
What I've Learned:
- A single definition falls short of making a word useful. Rather, it is important to consider the word schema, the complex knowledge of a word, to understand that words are not isolated (Fisher and Fry 2016).
- When teaching academic vocabulary it is important for the teacher to verbalize the words and not just focus on the written portion of learning. Teachers should speak words in a context that makes the meaning clear to students (Himmele and Himmele 2009).
- Tier 2 words are general academic vocabulary words that students will encounter frequently in academic language. These words are cross-curricular and it is important for students to have multiple exposure to them (Tyson 2013).
- It is important for students to be actively involved in their word learning and to make personal connections to the vocabulary (Fisher and Fry 2016). Understanding how a text connects to events in their world helps take away the excuses from students (Tankersley 2005).
Not one, but many
There are several ways I plan to incorporate this new knowledge into my high school history classroom. I like many of the ideas that Harmon and Wood (2008) suggest. Students need to see words over time and in multiple contexts rather than just seeing the word and learning a definition. This requires teaching words in relation to other words, much like the SHIFT 6 video (below) explained when using word webs. This is especially important for tier 2 words as these are academic words that students will see not only in history, but across disciplines. Teaching tier 2 and tier 3 words can happen simultaneously and doing so aligns with teaching words in context as described by Fisher and Fry (2016). The cubing activity explained by Harmon and Wood ask students to use the vocabulary they learned (tier 3 content words) to demonstrate their understanding of a term by describing, comparing, associating, analyzing, applying, or arguing (all of which are tier 2 words).
Let's get personal
Fisher, D. & Frey, N. (2016). Improving Adolescent Literacy: Content Area Strategies at Work.
(4th edition). Boston: Pearson.
Harmon, J. & Wood, K. (2008). “Content Area Vocabulary: A Critical Key to Conceptual
Learning.” Adolescent Literacy In Perspective. October, 2-6.
Himmele, P. & Himmele, W. (2009). Increasing Exposure to Academic Language by Speaking It. From The Language-Rich Classroom: A Research-Based Framework for Teaching English Language Learners (pp. 30–33).
Tankersley, K. (2005). The Struggling Reader. In Literacy Strategies for grades 4-12. (chapter 1) Retrieved from http://www.ascd.org/publications/books/104428/chapters/The-Struggling-Reader.aspx.
Tyson, K. (2013). No Tears for Tiers: Common Core Tiered Vocabulary Made Simple l Dr. Kimberly's Literacy Blog. Retrieved February 15, 2016, from http://www.learningunlimitedllc.com/2013/05/tiered-vocabulary/