Critical Concepts and Building Vocabulary

By on September 19, 2013

This has been a year of big changes for me as an educator. I am now teaching ELD and AVID at the high school level, after 13 years of teaching middle school. Holy adjustment Batman!

The biggest shift for me so far has been in my ELD class. I am realizing how much I need to slow down my pacing to meet the needs of my students. LiteracyTA has been an excellent resource to me, specifically the Building Vocabulary section.

Before each of the units I am teaching in my ELD classes we have reviewed the critical concepts for our unit using the student handout on Literacy TA. I have also modified the classroom assessment activity as a way to review, and reinforce these critical concepts with my students.

On there is a scaffold for students to create a skit that acts out the meaning of one of the critical concepts for our unit. I modified this activity and had students draw a picture of one of the concepts instead. I have been taking about 5-10 minutes at the beginning of class each day, projecting their pictures, and then calling on students to verbally complete the classroom assessment of the student’s drawings. I have noticed that this review is: a) fun for students, b) a great way to emphasize the importance of these terms, and c) a powerful review of new and challenging vocabulary.

Please take the time to check out the Building Vocabulary section of LiteracyTA and cross your fingers for me as I adjust to teaching high school!

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The Conversation

Mr. LeMaster Mr. LeMaster 9/24/2013

Great post, Jessica. Teaching ESL/ELD classes is a major shift in teaching practice. Thanks for sharing your experience. I would also like to recommend Scan for Vocabulary. This is a great skill for all levels. Basically, this skill teaches students to create their own glossaries for the texts they are reading. For your EL students, they might not know 30 words in a text. That's okay. We don't want to create activities around these words or quiz them on their meaning, but we should give students opportunities to learn about new words. Their comprehension of what they are reading will improve with Critical Concepts and Scan for Vocabulary. Thanks Maxine Sagapolutele for these great skills/activities.

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Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.
Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
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