Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Five Day Vocabulary: A Vocabulary Learning Protocol

This year, I've been providing monthly after-school PD "Spark Sessions". These are 25-minute PDs about various strategies for supporting ELLs. When I conduct PD, I like to give teachers solid strategies that are easy to implement. I want them to be able to walk into the classroom the next day and use what they've learned.

One of the most recent sessions I did was on Vocabulary Instruction for ELLs, where I introduced several strategies for teaching and practicing vocabulary. One of the strategies I introduced was a Five-Day Vocabulary Protocol that I developed.

Today, a 2nd grade teacher at that school told me how she'd been regularly using the protocol with her students over the last several weeks as part of center time, and she was noticing a measurable increase in their ability to retain and use new vocabulary words. I also have used it with great success, so I decided to share the protocol with you in hopes that it can help your students expand their vocabulary as well. I've seen this strategy used successfully from grade 2- grade 12!

Research Basis
Research shows that students need to interact with a word multiple times and in multiple ways in order to master that word in incorporate it into their vocabulary. Additionally, ELLs need more explicit instruction in vocabulary- especially academic vocabulary- through predictable routines and activities (Brown University).

It's important to give students the opportunity to explore vocabulary words in depth by:
  • stating the meaning of the word in their own words*
  • using the word correctly in context
  • exploring synonyms or examples
  • exploring antonyms or non-examples
  • associating the word with a non-linguistic representation (usually an image or movement)
*When students write the definition for the word, it is particularly important that they do so in their own words rather than copying a definition.

Other ways to "dig into" a word:
  • identifying homophones/homonyms
  • identifying prefixes, suffixes and roots
  • multiple meanings 
This vocabulary protocol gives your students the opportunity to do the first five on the list over the five day period, with a bonus spot for your particular focus (see "other ways to dig into a word" above). 

There's a FREE set of printable cards for Five-Day Vocabulary in my TpT store. I recommend that you choose no more than 4-5 words for each unit/topic/story. Give students a card for each word (print double sided to save paper). If desired, punch a hole and put them on a ring (you can build a growing vocabulary reference throughout the year). As a warm up or part of your center time, have students complete the daily task for each word. Click below to get your copy!

If you use this with your students, please let me know how it goes!

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