Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Vocabulary Notebook

Research by Robert Marzano indicates the nature and critical need for direct instruction in basic vocabulary.  Basic vocabulary includes the high-frequency terms that are critical to an understanding of the English language.  At least two groups of students require direct instruction in these terms: students of poverty and English language learners (ELL).  When schools understand the importance of school-wide direct vocabulary instruction, the playing field is leveled between language deprived students and other students.  Research indicates that, when students learn vocabulary terms and relate them to semantic clusters of words similar in meaning, long-term memory of vocabulary is significantly increased.  In contrast, there is no scientifically-based research to support the teaching of vocabulary words in isolation (memorizing a weekly word bank) and hoping the instruction sticks.

This year my students will be keeping a vocabulary notebook.  The notebook will be divided into sections organized in semantic clusters based on the Houghton-Mifflin curriculum that our district uses.


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