Monday, June 24, 2013

Chapter 2

Chapter 2

Forgive my super delay.. summer vacation is a lot busier than I planned, however I am now onto the next chapter.  love this book and it is opening my eyes to new angles of thinking. 

"Language plays a key role in the human learning process"- Laney Sammons

Chapter 2 discusses the importance of building academic vocabulary. Often times vocabulary is isolated to reading instruction, however students need that "break down" of language in math instruction as well. 

I really loved when she went in depth and began to speak about how important it is of ELL's to have the break down of language. It is true that students who do not have any background knowledge on a topic can interpret things the wrong way, such as "foot" and "yard."

Side note: Throughout this chapter what really "stuck" with me was the connection of words to ELL students. This really is an important concept for me because we have a high spanish population and I LOVE my ESL kiddos. So whether they have exited the program or not I love these techniques because they really help me keep my language learners in my "front view." Learning 2 languages is difficult and we can't forget about them. :)

As an educator, it's unfortunate that I still seestudents copying definitions from a dictionary, and as a younger generation, my college campus has proven this tactic unproductive. (If done in isolation) Beginning on page 50, it explains this nicely under 8 categories. It tells you what is not effective and why, and then explains a way for students to express their knowledge in an effective way.

One thing that I often run into a as a math and a reading teacher is which words do we focus on for student success? Do we teach them ALL "just in case" or do we focus on a specific group or kind of word? According to Laney Sammons we should:

1. Focus on words that are already in the students' oral vocabularies, which they need to recognize in print. 
  • After teaching a STAAR grade level for 3 years, I have learned that students have to KNOW words through reading and speaking. They should know these words because they are developmentally appropriate however they also need to know them for they may see these words on their state assessment. If we only talk about these words and the students have knowledge of reading it on their own, we run into tight situations when it comes to kids being able to read them and understand them alone.
2. Words that are not in student's oral vocabularies, but that are labels for concepts already familiar to students.
  • 3 of the examples that are given are quantity, comparison, and exact. Personally speaking, I know for a fact that I use these words all the time and we do research and discuss the meanings however, it brings a good point up, that if these are not explicitly taught, the meaning behind it will not be as strong as it can be without teaching it. Kids will be confused and not understand. 
3. Words not in student's oral vocabulary that refer to new concepts.

  • THESE ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT WORDS. These are words that they see most often only in the math classroom and environment.  However these words can hold a different meaning outside the classroom and confuse kids. This is a HUGE range of words that can cause the most difficulty with our ELL and ESL learners.

What vocabulary strategies do you use in your classroom? 

One thing I love to do with vocabulary is to use foldables to show examples of what the word "is".. what it "is not" and then a picture. I love this because it truly makes them think about the meaning and the non- meaning (Similar to the Frayer Model). 

Another game is similar to "headbandz", where you give the person clues to solve the words. This game can be fun when there is a long amount of time to play, however it is fun.

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