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Interactive Vocabulary

I asked another friend to share some great ideas with you.  Please welcome Jana from Thinking out Loud.  I love to hear ideas about vocabulary.  I think it’s my weakest area.  She has some great tips to share!

Hello, fans of Tales From Outside the Classroom!  My name is Jana from Thinking Out Loud and I love being here today.  I hope everyone has a had a fabulous start to the school year.  For those of you who haven’t started school yet:  Make sure to read blogs 🙂 and spend copious amounts of time with your family.

This year my school district is focusing on teaching vocabulary in a more explicit fashion.  We combined Marzano’s vocabulary strategy with Harvey and Goudvis’s inferring word meanings strategy (from Strategies That Work) to create “Interactive Vocabulary.”

Interactive Vocabulary

1.  Choose the Words –  Teachers choose appropriate vocabulary words. The goal of this step is for teachers to choose 3 words per week that are the most important to understanding the concepts being taught. They are “umbrella” words that other vocabulary would fall under during the unit of study.  Part of this step also includes creating a pre-assessment (that will also be used as a post-assessment) using the chosen words.

Here is the one I created for my first two science units in 3rd grade science.  Click HERE or on the picture to get your own copy.

2.  Introduce the Words – Teachers introduce the words to the students without directly telling them the definition of the words.  Teachers will give students clues about
the words using images and objects associated with the word.  Then have students infer the meaning of the word and write a description of the word in the vocabulary section of their notebooks.  Remember that this description is just a starting place for their understanding of the word which will be built upon in the during the sequence of instruction that follows.

3.  Infer the Meaning using Text Context – Teachers read aloud a passage that has
the vocabulary words in context.
This can be from a novel, textbook, article, etc.  As a class, construct the following chart:


Then have students add to their description of the words that they started in the previous step.

4.  Great a Visual with Examples and Non-examples – Teachers model creating a graphic representation of one of the words using a think aloud to describe why that
graphic was chosen. Teachers then model the thinking behind choosing an example and non-example for the word.

5.  Interacting with the Words – After the students have been taught the
vocabulary using steps 2-4, they will interact with the words in a variety of
ways throughout the rest of year through movement activities, related words/associations, compare and contrast, classifying, and graphic organizers.

What does this look like in action?  Check out my blog next week for updates.  I start teaching using this strategy on Tuesday, September 4, 2012.  I will post my lesson plans and examples of student work.

To begin using this strategy in your classroom, download this quick reference sheet of the strategy by clicking HERE or on the picture below.

Thank you for having me today!  I had a great time.  Leave a comment and let me know how you teach vocabulary.



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