SAVI Frequently Asked Questions

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1 FAQ #1: Why SAVI? SAVI : Systematic Academic Vocabulary Instruction SAVI is an All-ACCESS program designed by ACCESS teachers and based on the work of Robert Marzano (Building Background Knowledge for Academic Achievement, 2004). There are basically two types of vocabulary instruction. The one we are all most familiar with is the typical direct vocabulary instruction program that focuses on teaching about 10 to 12 words per week. The teacher selects words from high frequency word lists of general utility, such as analyze, relevant, institute, correspond and specify. Most of us were taught vocabulary this way when we were in school: introduce words on Monday, dictionary definition on Tuesday, write the words in a sentence on Wednesday, review on Thursday, test on Friday. This is the way we were taught vocabulary, hence this is the way we often teach. Instruction of these high frequency general utility words is valuable for comprehension of school-based reading material, and research indicates that this method increases student comprehension by 12 percentile points (Marzano, 2004). The value of targeting academic terms is much more impressive. Research indicates that direct vocabulary instruction that targets specialized terms related to content areas increases students comprehension by 33 percentile points (Marzano, 2004). This is why we chose four terms per week from the core content areas of English Language Arts, Math, Social Studies and Science that are directly related to the California State Standards. When you look at the list of terms for each week, you will notice they are specialized terms that require a great deal of description and examples in order for students to understand them, and they provide the background knowledge so many of our ACCESS students lack. In addition, we have included high utility general academic words that occur frequently over a wide range of academic texts. Teaching the SAVI content area terms gives our students the background knowledge necessary for comprehending academic text, increasing their chances of passing the CAHSEE, completing coursework required for graduation, preparing for college or vocational programs, and for general academic achievement. That s because of the compelling fact that what students already know about the content is one of the strongest indicators of how well students will learn new information relative to the content. Teaching the SAVI terms consistently over time goes a long way in filling in the knowledge holes so many of our ACCESS students have. 1

2 FAQ #2: Should I teach the SAVI terms of the week or can I teach the vocabulary related to the specific lesson or standard I am teaching? The answer is yes! It is interesting to remember there are three objectives of the SAVI program: 1. Fill in background knowledge in core content areas for our students. 2. Provide teachers with a research-based, systematic method of teaching SAVI terms, or any other term or essential vocabulary word. 3. Provide ACCESS teachers with a teaching strategy that is incorporated across all ACCESS classrooms, creating continuity for students and teachers. On the one hand, teaching the SAVI terms of the week in the core content areas of English Language Arts, Math, Social Studies and Science clearly fulfills the first objective of building the background knowledge of our students. Teaching the four terms from each core content area, concepts which are directly aligned with the State Standards, also directly supports coherent standards based classroom instruction. These are specialized terms that are needed to comprehend academic texts, and can also stand alone as a standards based lesson. For example, teaching entrepreneur, capitalism, industrialization and commerce (the four Social Studies terms from SAVI week 32) can provide the basis for a week of learning about the role of economics in world and U.S. history. Teaching ecosystem, organism, abiotic and biodiversity (the four Science terms of week 32) addresses the Ecology strand of the Life Sciences Standard. Clearly, the terms of the week are quite useful. Secondly, SAVI is a research-based, systematic method of teaching vocabulary terms. The SAVI method can be used to teach the terms of the week or any other term or essential vocabulary word. CBL teachers use the SAVI method to teach essential background concepts related to the time period or setting of the novel. Math teachers will use the SAVI method to introduce the vocabulary terms of each specific math lesson. The SAVI method is comprised of four basic steps: 1. Provide a description, explanation or example of the term (not a dictionary definition!). 2. Students restate and record their descriptions, explanations and examples of the term. 3. Students sketch a picture, symbol or other non-linguistic representation of the term. 4. Students use the SAVI worksheet to record steps 1-3 and to assess their own understanding of the term. 2

3 SAVI FAQ # 2 (cont d) As teachers, we continuously introduce new vocabulary terms to our students. Our ACCESS students experience little in the way of continuity as they move from placement to placement in our various ACCESS programs. As more and more ACCESS teachers implement the SAVI method of vocabulary instruction, students and teachers will greatly benefit from familiarity with this basic method. For example, students who are introduced to the SAVI method at Fischer and later move into a community school program will be immediately ready to continue building background knowledge in their new classroom setting. In conclusion, it is your choice to use the SAVI method to teach the SAVI terms of the week and/or the essential vocabulary terms of the lesson you are planning for your day school class, or for the reading or activities you are assigning a contract learning student. Note: for a complete description of the SAVI SIX-STEP Method, click on the attachment above. For more information about implementing SAVI in your teaching practice, contact your friendly RELL. FAQ #3: How much time should I spend teaching SAVI terms each day and each week? Clearly, teaching the SAVI terms of the week adequately using the Six Steps of Instruction requires a time commitment. Most ACCESS teachers include vocabulary in their instructional practice, so teaching four target terms per week in the four content areas should easily fit into classroom routines. The SAVI instructional method is comprised of four basic steps: 1. Provide a description, explanation or example of the term (not a dictionary definition!). 2. Students restate and record their descriptions, explanations and examples of the term on the SAVI student worksheet. 3. Students sketch a picture, symbol or other non-linguistic representation of the term on the SAVI student worksheet. 4. Students use the SAVI student worksheet to record steps 1-3 and to assess their own understanding of the term. 3

4 SAVI FAQ # 3 (cont d) And two additional steps: 5. Students engage periodically (15-20 minutes per week) in review of terms (highlight a prefix or suffix, identify a cognate or Greek/Latin root, identify synonyms and antonyms, translate the term into another language, identify common confusions about the term). 6. Involve students periodically (once every two weeks) in games that allow students to reexamine their understanding of terms (Jeopardy PPT is attached, Pictionary). Following is a sample time frame for the three classroom settings we have in ACCESS. Contract Learning CL teachers might want to select terms according to the course in which the student is enrolled. Attached to this is a sample CL assignment record that indicates how you might add SAVI to the assignment record. Below is a sample from that sheet. Course(s) # Assignments, Activities, Materials, Personnel, and Resources 2102 Book: AGS Exploring Literature English 9A Read pages 1-40 and complete Selection Reviews Complete Academic Vocabulary Worksheet for following five terms: Figure of speech, hyperbole, italics, Latin root, understatement Time must be made initially to instruct the CL student in the use of the four basic steps as well as the SAVI worksheet. Once that process is understood by the student, the amount of time spent by the teacher at each weekly appointment in step one is about ten minutes for four terms. Steps 2-4 can then be completed by the student before they leave or as part of the weekly homework assignment. A clever way to save time and enhance student learning is to group students who have overlapping appointment times into a learning lab setting and present the weekly terms to the small group. Steps 5 and 6 can be accomplished by having the CL student play the Jeopardy game on the appointment that follows the study of the terms. Day School Day school classrooms typically have multiple grade levels, and day school teachers typically have scheduled class time for Math, English, Social Studies and Science. Some day school teachers direct teach Math and English and have students work independently in Social Studies, Science and Electives. SAVI terms of the week can be easily incorporated in Math and English by teaching just one term per day. Instruction of the four basic steps (see above) should take about 10 minutes per term once the 4

5 SAVI FAQ # 3 (cont d) process is routine for the class. Many day school teachers who have students working independently in Social Studies and Science report that they use the SAVI weekly terms as a whole class activity once a week, for about one hour. Since these content area terms are grouped it s simple to turn the terms into a standards-based science or history lesson. It s important to note that the SAVI weekly terms are all based on CA State Standards for grades 9 and 10. If you have an exclusively middle school class, contact Dawn Shelley about selecting terms for your students. Day school teachers can engage students in steps 5 and 6 (see above), which incorporate games and review activities that enhance their knowledge of the term. Subject-matter classrooms (Juvenile Hall, HLC and others) Several ACCESS sites have students move from class to class throughout the school day. These subjectmatter teachers might establish the classroom routine of studying one term day as a focus activity at the beginning of class or at the end when students need refocusing. Many subject matter teachers find that using the four basic steps of SAVI instruction (see above) to introduce the core vocabulary of the lesson of the day is a highly effective strategy to focus student attention upon the enduring understanding they should gain from the lesson. FAQ #4: What is the rubric for My Understanding on the SAVI Student Worksheet? Students and teachers want to be able to easily assess the level of understanding of a term that is taught in class. A simple way to help students is to encourage students to self-assess. When we teach students to self-assess, we are helping them take responsibility for their own learning. The top section of the SAVI Student Worksheet (attached) looks like this: Name: Subject: Term: My Understanding: Describe: The My Understanding section of the student worksheet gives students the chance to selfassess their understanding of the term. 5

6 SAVI FAQ # 4 (cont d) Marzano's Building Academic Vocabulary Teacher's Manual (2005) provides the following descriptions for the four levels of knowledge that students can use to self-assess his/her understanding of the term: Knowledge Level Level 4 Level 3 Level 2 Level 1 Description I understand even more about the term than I was taught. I understand the term and I m not confused about any part of what it means. I m a little uncertain about what the term means, but I have a general idea. I m very uncertain about the term. I really don t understand what it means. Day School and Content Area (Fischer AU) teachers: Use this rubric to get a quick formative assessment of the entire class by saying: All the 4s please raise your hands. Thank you, hands down. All the 3s please raise your hands. Thank you, hands down etc. Contract Learning teachers: Review the completed student worksheets and quickly check for student understanding. Remember to make the rubric available to your students. Feel free to copy and paste the table above and provide it to you students or make a poster to hang in your classroom or office area. FAQ #5: How do I monitor the accuracy of student work in SAVI? After guidance and modeling of the four basic steps of SAVI instruction, students generate their own descriptions and non-linguistic representations for the terms they are learning. It is ideal that student SAVI work be kept in a notebook of some kind. As we are teaching each term, we strive to identify and clarify any misconceptions students might have about a term, students record their initial Level of Knowledge of the term, and periodically students add to or revise their understanding and re-assess their Level of knowledge of the term (see table below for rubric). It is important to monitor the accuracy and clarity of student work throughout the process. Contract Learning students: It is highly recommended that CL students maintain a SAVI notebook of some kind. Many teachers have students use an inexpensive spiral notebook for this purpose. It can be given a title such as Academic Vocabulary Notebook. CL students can initially record the SAVI four steps on the SAVI Student Worksheet. Once the student is familiar with the student worksheet, the 6

7 SAVI FAQ # 5 (cont d) student can transfer the headings to the lined paper of the spiral notebook. The CL teacher can then regularly review the notebook. Other notebook options are a section in a binder, or a handmade notebook using lined paper. Day School teachers/ Content Area teachers (Fischer AU): It is highly recommended that CL students maintain a SAVI notebook of some kind. Many teachers have students use an inexpensive spiral notebook for this purpose. It can be given a title such as Academic Vocabulary Notebook. Once the student is familiar with the student worksheet, the student can transfer the headings to the lined paper of the spiral notebook, thereby limiting the need to photocopy. In general, when students are working in their notebooks, move around the room and look at their work. This simple action gives you the teacher the chance to catch individual students errors. You may observe patterns of misconceptions that will give you the chance to call the class back together for more instruction. Review student notebooks regularly to give yourself an overall impression of how well students are learning the terms. Finally, Marzano (2005) recommends that students be encouraged as a class to ensure that everyone is learning the terms accurately. Pairing up students to check each other s entries can help clear up misconceptions of the term. Marzano's Building Academic Vocabulary Teacher's Manual (2005) provides the following descriptions for the four levels of knowledge that students can use to self-assess his/her understanding of the term: Knowledge Level Level 4 Level 3 Level 2 Level 1 Description I understand even more about the term than I was taught. I understand the term and I m not confused about any part of what it means. I m a little uncertain about what the term means, but I have a general idea. I m very uncertain about the term. I really don t understand what it means. FAQ#6: How do I keep track of student progress in SAVI? Ideally, students keep a notebook devoted to Academic Vocabulary (see FAQ #5). Students like to observe their own progress over time as they learn new terms. Students use their Academic Vocabluary Notebooks to record, describe, sketch and mark their initial understanding of the terms as they learn them. One simple way to help students track their progress is to encourage them to self-assess. 7

8 SAVI FAQ # 6 (cont d) Marzano's Building Academic Vocabulary Teacher's Manual (2005) provides the following descriptions for the four levels of knowledge that students can use to self-assess his/her understanding of the term: Knowledge Level Level 4 Level 3 Level 2 Level 1 Description I understand even more about the term than I was taught. I understand the term and I m not confused about any part of what it means. I m a little uncertain about what the term means, but I have a general idea. I m very uncertain about the term. I really don t understand what it means. Students self-assess their initial understanding every time they learn a new term using the scale above. Periodic quizzes can be given to keep track of student progress. Student responses can be scored as correct or incorrect and recorded in the grade book. Or, after the quiz, the correct answers can be reviewed in class and students can once again indicate their level of understanding of each word tested. The big picture is that at the same time teachers assess and grade student knowledge of the term, students are self-assessing their own understanding of the term. To help students determine how well they are learning the vocabulary terms in general, teachers can periodically ask them to create a visual representation of their progress by creating their own Student Progress Chart. Using the sample chart below (also provided as an attachment to this ). Periodically (bi-weekly, monthly) give students the assignment of going through the pages of their notebook and counting the number of terms for which they have rated their own level of understanding as a 4, then the number of terms rated as a 3, and so on. The chart creates a little histogram of their learning. Have students complete a new chart once a month or so. Over time, the total number of terms will increase. The teacher can review the charts and the notebooks periodically. Naturally, periodic quizzes or tests can be given to assess and give a grade. Care should be taken when designing the tests. Because the SAVI four-step teaching process allows for a great deal of variation in the way students describe and represent terms, it is NOT advisable to give a matching or multiplechoice assessment. Marzano (2005) recommends constructing tests with open-ended assessments that allow students to show what they understand about the terms. Many ACCESS teachers use the SAVI student worksheet as an assessment. They make double-sided copies of the two-on-a-page worksheet, give the quiz terms and have students complete the worksheet. See chart on following page 8

9 SAVI FAQ # 6 (cont d) Student Progress Chart Date: November 4 # of Items Level 4 Level 3 Level 2 Level X 10 X X 9 X X 8 X X 7 X X X 6 X X X X 5 X X X X 4 X X X X 3 X X X X 2 X X X X 1 X X X X FAQ#7: How can the SAVI Four Step Process be utilized for word study? The SAVI Four Step Process lends itself very well to word study. When we introduce new terms or vocabulary words to students, it is beneficial to teach the word variants, as well as morphemes that are related to the given term. Word variants are the many variations of a given word, and morphemes are comprised of Greek and Latin prefixes, roots and suffixes. Teaching Word Variants: The word enforce is one of this week s SAVI Academic word. Initially the word is introduced to students as a verb. Next students are asked to think of other words 9

10 SAVI FAQ # 7 (cont d) that can be made with the word enforce. Students might mention enforcement, enforceable, unenforceable and then the class discusses the part of speech that correlates with each word. Word Study for Academic Vocabulary TERM NOUN VERB ADJECTIVE ADVERB example: select selection select selective selectively enforce enforcement enforce enforceable unenforceable Now it s time to carry on with the Four Basic Steps of SAVI Instruction: 1. Provide a description, explanation or example of the term (not a dictionary definition!). 2. Students restate and record their descriptions, explanations and examples of the term on the SAVI student worksheet. 3. Students sketch a picture, symbol or other non-linguistic representation of the term on the SAVI student worksheet. 4. Students use the SAVI student worksheet to record steps 1-3 and to assess their own understanding of the term. Teaching Morphemes to Enhance Vocabulary Instruction: Morphemes consist of Greek and Latin prefixes, roots, and suffixes. Study of morphemes is a tried and true method of building one s academic vocabulary in all the content areas. Morphemes are especially helpful for students who speak a Latin based language, such as Spanish, because Latin morphemes are all cognate words. Cognate words are words from two separate languages that are related to each other because they are derived from the same language, in this case, Latin. So if we teach the word enforce, then introduce enforceable, refer to a suffix list and see the suffix able means able to, then students easily access the meaning of enforceable. Finally, we introduce the final variant, unenforceable, refer students to a prefix list where they find un- and students are able to determine that unenforceable means not able to enforce. If morphemes are a consistent element of Systematic Academic Vocabulary Instruction, students will be able to apply their knowledge of prefixes, roots and suffixes to myriad new words in academic texts. 10

11 FAQ#8: What should students do during a Review Week? By now you and your students are quite familiar with the Four Basic Steps of SAVI Instruction. They are proficient with descriptions, they sketch with gusto at every opportunity and they use the SAVI rubric with ease. And here comes a review week what now? It is essential to provide students periodically with the opportunity to engage in fun review activities designed to help them add to their knowledge of the terms. The SAVI Worksheet provides a place for students to mark their understanding of the term at the time when they first learn it. If students are keeping a vocabulary notebook (recommended) after engaging in a review activity, encourage students to go through their notebooks and decide whether they have increased their understanding of any of the terms. Review Activity: FREE ASSOCIATION This is perhaps the quickest and most unstructured of the review activities. It involves asking students simply to say any words that come to mind when they hear a particular term. For example, upon hearing the term reference materials, students might respond with words like encyclopedia, dictionary, atlas, periodical, internet, thesaurus, and so on. An alternative to verbal free association, students can write their responses on a piece of scratch paper and then exchange papers with a partner and ask each other to explain any of the words on their lists. This activity allows students to express their own ideas, and engage with the thinking of others. Review Activity : Jeopardy! Every week we include a Jeopardy! game with our SAVI . It s likely that during a typical week, you don t have time to play Jeopardy! in class. This review week is perfect opportunity to give it a whirl! Simply down load one of the PPTs from a previous week or alter the PPT to only include the terms you want to review. I ll take Mathematics for 100! Review Activity: Pictionary This game requires players to draw pictures as clues to help teammates identify a particular term. Playing this game in the classroom helps students attach images to word meanings. Make a list of review terms, put students in teams. One student from each team draws the term without using any letters or numbers. The drawer keeps drawing until someone from his/her team guesses the term. Then all teams stop drawing and the winning team earns a point for that round. The game continues until a team reaches a determined number of points. 11

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