Shift 6

Things that I have learned

What is Shift 6?

Shift 6 is represented as Academic Vocabulary


This is developed by the Common Core to have students use and consistently develop words that are seen or accessed in everyday text, but are slightly out of reach of the student without focusing on literary terms.

The types of Tiers

Tier 1: Words acquired through everyday speech, usually learned in the early grades. These are basic and students should easily know these words or be familiar with them already.


Tier 2: Academic words that appear across all types of text. These are often precise words that are used by the author in place of common words. They change meaning with use. Example gallop instead of run. These words will appear several times throughout the text and really need to be identified for maximum understanding when reading the text. A student really needs to know this word and not skip over to fully understand the reading. Often context clues can be used to figure out the meaning of this word or words.


Tier 3: Domain specific words "that are specifically tied to content. These are typically the types of vocabulary words that are included in glossaries, highlighted in textbooks and address by teachers. They are considered words important to understanding content. These words are often associated with a certain skill or topic that you will only encounter when referencing this subject or material. Often words in science are great examples of this. To understand this word and how it is used in the text will require you to do research on the word.

Steps to be effective at guiding instruction

1. You must know the key characteristics of effective vocabulary instruction.

This includes multiple exposure to words through read aloud, shared reading, and questioning to name a few that can take place in the classroom.

2. Identify and sort key vocabulary into 3 Tiers.

Categorizing words into a framework will help to implement the Common Core and classroom instruction into practical instruction that will benefit your students into developing learners in vocabulary.

3. Create a print-rich environment

In the classroom it is key that vocabulary is not just orally spoken, but can be seen and accessed around the classroom. Word walls, writing centers, content posters, and classroom library should always be close for students to expand their knowledge on a regular basis.

4. Identify and master evidence-based instructional strategies

A teacher can only be as good as their students when it comes to showcases strengths and weaknesses in vocabulary. Having students develop strategies that allow them to build vocabulary off of prior knowledge, develop understanding, and make connections independently is the goal that most teachers should strive to accomplish in the classroom.

5. Choose digital tools that support word learning.

Technology is used more than ever before in the classroom, but using technology effectively is the challenge of most teachers. Online websites can be used to expose students to examples in pronunciation, reinforce word learning through games, and playing with manipulate language to name a few things. This is a great setup to use during a computer center if you have a center setup in your classroom.