Tier 1: Common, Known Words. Examples: big, small, house, table, family

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1 Tier 1: Common, Known Words Examples: big, small, house, table, family Tier I words are basic, everyday words that are a part of most children s vocabulary. These are words used every day in conversation, and most of them are learned by hearing family, peers, and teachers use them when speaking. These words are especially important for English language learners who may not be familiar with them. Tier 2: High-Frequency Words (aka Cross-Curricular Vocabulary) Examples: justify, explain, expand, predict, summarize, maintain Tier 2 words include frequently occurring words that appear in various contexts and topics and play an important role in verbal functioning across a variety of content areas. Another way to think of Tier 2 vocabulary is as cross-curricular terms. For example, the term justify and predict frequently appear in Science, Social Studies, and English texts. Tier 2 words are learned primarily through reading and explicit instruction. Here is a quick test to determine if a word is a Tier 2 term. First, think about whether students already have ways to express the concepts represented by the Tier 2 words. In other words, would students be able to explain a Tier 2 word such as summarize or predict using words that are already well known to them? If so, the term is a Tier 2 word. Tier 3: Low-Frequency, Domain-Specific words Examples: isotope, tectonic plates, carcinogens, mitosis, lithosphere Tier 3 words are domain specific vocabulary. Words in this category are low frequency, specialized words that appear in specific fields or content areas. Students will be unfamiliar with Tier 3 words. Teachers should teach these words as the need arises for comprehension in specific content areas. Copyright 2013 Sleek Theme on Genesis Framework WordPress

2 Processes to Teach Vocabulary 1. Provide a description, explanation, or example of the new term. 2. Ask students to restate the description, explanation, or example in their own words. 3. Ask students to construct a picture, pictograph, or symbolic representation of the term. 4. Engage students periodically in activities that help them add to their knowledge of the terms in their vocabulary notebooks. 5. Periodically ask students to discuss the terms with one another. 6. Involve students periodically in games that enable them to play with terms. Marzano s Six Step Process to Vocabulary Instruction, Then, create all of your word walls (you can t have just one!) with your students. Just as there is no one right way to create a word wall, there is no one right way to display a word wall either. Word walls come in all shapes and sizes. Here are a few ideas. Portable Word Walls: Think about having separate areas or creating portable word walls for categorizes or groups of words. Cupboard Doors: No wall space? Use cupboard doors to display words. They re not as wide, but work quite well. Ceiling Tiles: I ve seen a few teachers use paper clips and hang words from ceiling tiles. It s not only creative, but it works! Poster Frames: Here s a novel idea. Use a simple poster frame (sold at Hobby Lobby or Michael s) and display words within the frame. Easy to change-up, too! Pocket Chart: Use a pocket chart to create a simple and easily changeable word wall. Tall Cabinet or File Cabinet: Both of these can be a great, useable space to display words of all types. Just stick a small magnet on the back of each word and, voila(!), you have a word wall. Anchor Charts: Create portable word walls on anchor charts. You can easily create them for each unit or content theme. Then store them on three rings so that students can refer to them.

3 Types of Word Walls Spelling, Word Family, and Rhyming Patterns Content/Topical/Thematic Word Walls Words We Know Prefixes, Suffixes, and Root Words Words from Read Alouds Spanish/English Word Walls Graffiti Word Walls (Words that students find interesting found in reading or listening.) Frequently Misspelled Words Trash Words (Words that students agree not to use e.g., walked, said, talked) Recycled Words (Words to use instead of e.g., garrulous instead of talkative) Color-Coded Word Walls (e.g., color code verbs, nouns, and adjectives to help students find parts of speech easily) Tier 2 Words Hallway Word Walls (extend word learning into the school hallways Encourage students to create images or find pictures and symbols to accompany each word. Pictographs and images go a long way toward cementing the word meaning with a visual image. Review and Play Games Refer to them: Simply refer to words on your word walls as you teach and have conversation across the school day. Review Words: Multiple exposures to new words are important to understanding the nuances of a word s meaning. Review words and continually use them in new and varied contexts. Have students use words verbally with a partner or in a small group.

4 Play Games There are many word wall activities for secondary students ranging from word sorts, matching picture to definition/usage, I Have, Who Has, Save the Last Word for Me (requires all students to participate as active speakers and listeners.) Games Intermediate & Secondary Students: Vocabulary Games for the Classroom, a professional resource by Robert Marzano, includes many game-like activities that reinforce words and help students play with words while adding to their understanding of new vocabulary.

5 I have periodicity. Who has the word that means the arrangement of electrons in an atom? I have electron configuration. Who has the word that means a physical substance that has mass and takes up space? I have matter. Who has the word that means the smallest possible substance that cannot be broken down further? I have element. Who has the word that means to move around something in a circular path? I have orbit. Who has the word that means to decide firmly; to be the cause of? I have determine. Who has the word that means the repetition of similar properties in chemical elements, as indicated by in their positioning in the periodic table?

6 Here are some of the best strategies for creating your word walls in your classroom. Remember, though, that word walls are living and growing daily: 1. Literature Based Word Wall: Word walls can also be created to help students during a literature study. The teacher should select keywords, new vocabulary words or even characters names from the piece of literature the class will be reading. As these words are encountered in the text or are introduced during vocabulary instruction they should be written on sentence strips or computer paper and posted together in a central location in the classroom. The wall will aid students in learning these new vocabulary words as well as easily accessing important information when discussing the book in class. 2. Writing Word Wall: Word walls aren t just tools to help support children s reading development. They can also be valuable aids during writing instruction. Writers often have difficulty retrieving a wide variety of words to use in their writing. Teachers can help spark their memories by posting lists of words on the wall. The list can be general or specific. If your class is studying a particular mode of writing you can post words that are often used in that type of writing. For example, when the class is working on compare-contrast writing words such as similar, different, same and opposite could be posted on the word wall to remind students to use these in their writing. 3. Spelling Word Wall: Spelling word walls are excellent tools to aid students throughout the year. A spelling word wall should be organized alphabetically to help students locate the words as they need to spell them. The wall should be comprised of words the class encounters and wants to learn to spell. Common spelling errors in writing, key words from literature, weekly spelling lists and even students names can be added to the word wall. The wall should also be a work in progress. Words should be added as the teacher and students decide they need to learn to spell them. Many teachers keep the words up on the wall even during tests, but cover them with blank paper to prevent students from using the wall while being tested. 4. Parts of Speech Word Wall: Sometimes students struggle to understand which part of speech a word fits into. They may not remember if pretty is a verb because someone can be pretty, a noun because pretty usually refers to a person, place or thing or an adjective because it is a descriptive word. To help students categorize their vocabularies and understand basic concepts of grammar, teachers can create a word wall organized by part of speech (ie. nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs). As students learn or study new words they can add each to the correct part of speech. 5. Content Area Word Wall: Word walls are not just for English/Language Arts classrooms. They can be incorporated in any content area classroom also. In fact, because many students struggle with content area vocabulary, they can be extremely valuable aids in helping them acquire the terms necessary to understand content area concepts and texts. Content area teachers should write important vocabulary and key words students need to learn on sentence strips or computer paper. As each word is introduced it should be added to the wall. The wall will provide a visual cue for students as they discuss and write about content area topics. The wall should continue to be a work in progress growing throughout the school year as new terms are learned. 6. Unit/Chapter Word Wall: Content area word walls do not have to be used for an entire school year. They can simply be an aid for a particular unit or chapter of study. The teacher should select key terms from the unit and chapter and write them on sentence strips or computer paper. As each word is introduced it should be added to the wall. At the end of the unit or chapter the word wall can come down. This is an excellent way to incorporate a word wall into your classroom if you have limited space available. 7. Standardized Test Preparation Word Wall: One of the often overlooked aspects of standardized test preparation is the vocabulary used in question and answer choices. Generally each standardized test has its own question stems, organization and methods for presenting answer choices. There is, in effect, a vocabulary for each test. Teachers can help students become more effective test takers by familiarizing them with the key words used in a particular standardized test. One of the ways of doing this is by creating a test preparation word wall. All of the key terms used in questions and answers should be written on sentence strips or computer paper and posted together on a wall. Students should be encouraged to understand and use these terms throughout the year so that they will be comfortable with them come test time. Note: Don t forget the power of student created word walls within their content notebooks.

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