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Sustaining the development of academic vocabulary ATA ESL-C: Red Deer November 2013 [email protected] ca Funded in part by (File Number 410 -2006 -2530)
Goals: • Define academic vocabulary • Focus on general academic vocabulary, often termed ‘Tier 2’ words • Offer ideas and examples of how to sustain the development of Tier 2 words in upper elementary
Academic vocabulary • Beck, Mc. Keown & Kucan (2002) offer a 3 Tiered framework for thinking about vocabulary: • Tier 1: Easy to get vocabulary, from everyday, context embedded opportunities for acquisition. These words generally do not need a great deal of instructional attention. • Tier 2: Mid to low range words with high utility and generalizability across subject/disciplinary boundaries • Tier 3: Subject/discipline specific words that subject area teachers are generally getting better at teaching (Snow, 2010). e. g. photosynthesis, mitosis
Academic vocabulary • Bauman & Graves (2010), Cummins, (1982) and Corson (1997) • Academic language is associated with ‘the secret language of books’. It is decontextualized, and abstract; often involves metaphor, technical uses of common words and words with Latinate roots. They involve complex, cognitive constructs: construct vs build; create vs make; obtain vs get; object vs thing • It is the Tier 2 words that are the focus of academic vocabulary instruction. Teachers tend to neglect these words, focusing instead on Tier 3 words of their subject.
Cummins’ framework: BICS-CALP
Academic vocabulary • Native speaking children often acquire this vocabulary from home, especially from their mothers. Sophisticated input at meal time (Beals, 1997); elaborative and collaborative talk, story book reading, purposeful play and open-ended play gives these kids an early advantage, which they maintain over time. The Matthew effect: The ‘rich get richer’ (Stanovich, 1986). • These kids often are early readers as well, where they begin at an early age to learn new vocabulary independently from extensive exposure to print materials. • As early as grade 3, this kind of vocabulary shows up in their written efforts.
Academic vocabulary in Grade 3 writing: Empty space
Academic vocabulary in Grade 3 writing: Empty space • There are 86 ‘juicy words’ in the total pool of words that appeared in the Grade 3 writing samples • Fewer than 10% of these words are from Bands 1 -5, the ‘tipping point’ for children who are weaker writers • Nearly 80% of these words are either Off-list known or ‘off list unknown. • It becomes important to use this list as a place to begin thinking about vocabulary instruction in Grades 2 -3 • The use of these kinds of words accelerates in Grades 3 – 6.
Academic vocabulary in Grade 3 writing: Empty space • Absolutely Activity Advance Amuse Altitude Approve Attach Balance Barrier Basics Basically Challenge Collapse Combine Compares Complain Connected Convince Consider Coordination Create Decline Depend Design Direction Disappointed Educational Entertain Environment Excellent Equipment Except Exercise Exhausted Expensive Expert Fascinating Hilarious Imagine Imagination Important Improve Include Involve Locate Maximum Mental Motion Natural Normal Objects Obstacle Original Perfect Platform Physical Popular Possible Prevent Pretend Protect protection protective Purpose Regular Related Recommend Recreation Safety Section Sense Similar Spiral Solution Source Stimulate Store storage Strategy Strengthen Structure Suggestion Surface Suspend Technically Various
Academic vocabulary • ELLs are generally lagging in this type of vocabulary knowledge. This is evident from their written efforts, at a young age (Roessingh, 2013). • What NS youngsters acquire and learn independently from a young age, ELLs must ‘get’ through direct and explicit instruction from their teachers (Biemiller, 2001). • Teachers do not have the luxury of time, or immersion as a ‘faint hope’ approach. Our efforts must be strategic, targeted and multi-faceted.
A multi-faceted approach • Direct and explicit instruction of ‘big bang for your buck’ words • Word study: – Morphological analysis: (Nagy et al, 1989). More than 60% of new words in upper elementary have a transparent morphological structure. • • Prefixes/suffixes/inflected endings →structural analysis of words → Root words, Greek and Latin meanings – Polysemy (one word with many/ ‘poli’ meanings/ ‘semes’ ; homophones/homographs/homonyms (same spelling/sound, different meanings). These are common in English, and present difficulty for ELLs. • Strategy instruction – Context clues→making inferences • A reading program to promote reading informational/expository text: this is where the important words are! • Academic conversations: – Teacher-led discussions around topics that are current and of high interest to children (e. g. RIPQuanto: Death of a service dog).
1. Direct and explicit instruction: • This involves: – Definitional and contextual information about a word – Multiple exposures across modalities: hear it/see it/say it/ write it (Stahl, 2003). – Deep engagement: opportunities to manipulate, transform, and practice → ‘push out’ tasks to move the word from receptive to productive vocabulary.
Direct and explicit instruction: Frayer model • • • The Frayer Model is a graphical organizer used for word analysis and vocabulary building. This four-square model prompts students to think about and describe the meaning of a word or concept by. . . Defining the term, Describing its essential characteristics, Providing examples of the idea, and Offering non-examples of the idea. /concept. • http: //www. readingeducator. com/strategies/frayer. htm • Useful instructional strategy across all grades, proficiency levels. See: www. duallanguageproject. com ‘Family Treasures’
2. Word study: Prefixes and suffixes • Morphological analysis:
Word study: Root words, Latin meanings
Word study: Do you know your Greek and Latin roots?
Word study: Do you know your Greek and Latin roots?
Latin, Greek roots, Key
Word study: Polysemy • Poly (many) semes (meanings). – ELLs often have difficulty with generating many meanings of the same (sounding) word. – Many of the meanings involve collocations, idioms/ metaphoric uses: • e. g. How many different meanings can you generate for the word ‘BREAK’?
Word study: BREAK • Break a leg, break a bone, lucky break, break a promise, break a record, break down in tears, pee/bio break, break the rules/law, break ground, break the cycle, he made a break for the door, break the silence … • And so on ….
3. Strategy Instruction • Using context clues to infer meanings: - Direct definitions, synonyms, antonyms, examples are often marked by punctuation, or by discourse markers (in contrast, similarly, such as. . , for example …). - Teach students to make inferences of location, agent, time, action, instrument, cause-effect, object, category, problemsolution, feelings - attitude
Strategies: 5 step teaching 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Name the strategy and explain how it works. Teach, model, demonstrate, talk aloud protocol Guided practice Independent work. Assess. Students need to be TAUGHT how to be strategic learners/readers.
4. A reading program for kids • Research tells us that children do not read enough, especially those who struggle. Through vast amounts of exposure to print, children can develop independent ways of learning new words. Good readers do this! • Ideas for building a reading program? – Build for intrinsic motivation and pleasure of reading. – Breadth and depth of topic coverage and variation in genres. The words they need to learn are principally in non-fiction/information texts.
5. Instructional/academic conversations • Children who have large vocabularies largely acquired them from their mothers. Meal time conversations that are engaging, challenging and that invite lively exchange (collaborative and elaborative talk) are a key feature of this kind of talk (Beals, 1997). At younger ages story book reading, structured play, and open ended play were key ways of putting sophisticated, new words to the kids. How can we reconstruct the family dinner table in our classrooms?
Informational texts as story starters: • The newspaper: – Any given day there are stories in the paper that invite further discussion. A recent example is the story of Quanto, the police service dog, who was killed in the line of duty as he attempted to bring down a fleeing suspect.
Informational texts as story starters: • Students can be read a summary or retelling of the newspaper article. Key words might include: – The suspect, motivated, apprehend, dedicated, canine, protective equipment, sympathy – This story generated a huge amount of social media activity (hashtag #RIPQuanto). Read together the messages that people have left. – Have a discussion with the students about their opinion related to ‘should the crime of injuring or killing a police dog be treated as more than just animal cruelty? ’
Informational texts as story starters: • Boo the grizzly:
Informational texts as story starters: • There are dozens of stories, videos, photos, etc. of Boo the bear. These are good for conversation starters (endangered, orphaned, dangerous, habitat, etc. ). These can lead to listening exercises, recounts, descriptions (Boo loves to eat corn: powerful jaws, etc. ). Boo has lived for 10 years in the wildlife reserve in Banff National Park … this story has a good shelf life!
Kate and Pippin: • http: //www. cbc. ca/books/2012/03/kkate-pippin-the-story-of-an-unlikely-pair. html
The new Calgary Zoo: The Calgary Zoo is going to be completely rebuilt over the next few years. A committee at the zoo is accepting proposals for how the ‘new zoo’ can be rebuilt. Your task is to write a proposal that will convince the committee that your ideas are the best way for making the Calgary Zoo the #1 zoo in the world!
Further prompts: • • Is it all right for world class athletes to take performance enhancing drugs? Cycling (Lance Armstrong), short (sprint) distance runners starting with Ben Johnson, swimmers, gymnasts, and cross country skiers have all been ‘caught’. Should children be allowed to have digital devices? (Kids get hooked on digital devices, Calgary Herald, April 27, 2013. Weekend Life Section, p 18). Children as young as just 4 are becoming so addicted to smartphones and tablet computers that they require psychological treatment for their compulsive behavior. Among all our possessions, we usually consider one or two objects to be very precious. Choose one possession that is very precious and write to describe the object and explain its meaning/significance to you. Is it all right to keep wild animals as pets?
Some resources and references Bauman, J. & Graves, M. (2010). What is academic vocabulary? Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 54(1), 4 – 12. Beals, D. (1997). Sources of support for learning words in conversation: Evidence from mealtimes. Journal of Child Language, 24, 673– 94. Beck, I. L. , Mc. Keown, M. G. , & Kucan, L. (2002). Bringing words to life: Robust vocabulary instruction. New York: Guilford. Biemiller, A. (2001). Teaching vocabulary: Early, direct and sequential. American Educator, Spring, 2001. http: //www. aft. org/newspubs/periodicals/ae/spring 2001/biemiller. cfm Cummins, J. (1982). Bilingualism and minority language children. Toronto, ON: OISE Pres Corson, D. (1997). The learning and use of academic English words. Language Learning, 47, 671 -718. Edmonton Public School Board (2008). Highest Level Achievement Test (HLAT). ‘Open space’ prompt and marking rubric. Gardner, D. (2013). Exploring vocabulary , Language in action. NY: Routledge. Nagy, W. et al (1989). Morphological families in the internal lexicon. Reading Research Quarterly, 24, 263 -282.
Some resources and references Roessingh, H. (2012). The importance of the prompt for eliciting language samples: Insights from research and considerations for practice. Tex. ELT: Texas English Language Teaching, 1(1), 37 -56. Available online: http: //www. textesolv. org Roessingh, H. & Douglas, S. (2013). Raising the lexical bar: The potential of teacher talk to support learning academic vocabulary. In M. Cowart & G. Anderson (Eds. ) Teaching and Leading in Diverse Schools. Denton, TX: The Federation of North Texas Universities. Snow, C. (2010). Academic language and the challenge of reading for learning about science. Science, 328, 450 – 452. http: //colabradio. mit. edu/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/academiclanguage. pdf Stahl, S. (2003). How words are learned incrementally over multiple exposures. American Educator, 27(1), 18 -19. http: //www. aft. org/pdfs/americaneducator/spring 2003/AE_SPRNG. pdf#page=6 Stanovich, K. E. (1986). Matthew effects in reading: Some consequences of individual differences in the acquisition of literacy. Reading Research Quarterly, 21, 360 – 407. Common prefixes and suffixes: http: //www. sdc. uwo. ca/writing/handouts/Common%20 Prefixes. pdf