Focusing on Vocabulary

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SWBAT use context as a clue to the meaning of a word through the use of Cornell Notes.

Big Idea

Dispatch with the dictionary! You can use context clues to figure out what you need to know.


7 minutes

To begin today's lesson, I hand out the Cornell Notes Vocabulary sheet for Immigrant Kids. I remind my students that they've seen this sheet before when we were reading The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

I display the second slide of the PowerPoint for their independent starter. 

Students have about 7 minutes to complete these steps for all five words that appear on the notes form. 

Once students have completed this starter, we can begin creating class definitions for our new words!

Getting Down to Business

18 minutes

Once my students have had a chance to complete their vocabulary starter, we begin to discuss what these new words might mean.  I go about this by asking a few students to volunteer their contextual definitions. 

Once a few students have shared, I begin to shape what they have contributed into a class definition (that is the correct definition, of course!). 

Once this step is complete, I ask students to reread their best-guess definitions and evaluate how they did.  If their definition was correct, or even close, I have them put a star by it.  If they missed the mark, I ask them to put an "x" through their definition.  I do ask them not to completely scratch out what they have written.  I want them to understand that taking a guess and then thinking about where or why you went wrong is part of the learning process here.

After we have completed the definition steps, we create a sentence for the word.  Rather than saying, "Does anyone have a sentence for this impoverished?" I will say, "What would an impoverished town look like?"  This helps us create descriptive sentences that will help solidify the students' understanding of the meaning.

After we have completed our discussion, students begin reading independently and using the words to summarize what they have read.

Did They Get It?

25 minutes

At the end of this lesson, I have students read the excerpt from Immigrant Kids by Russell Freedman that appears in our textbook (McDougal Littell's The Language of Literature).  When they are done reading, they are to write a summary of the excerpt using three of the new vocabulary words.

Their summaries should answer the five summary questions we have used all year. 

If there is time at the end of class, I will ask for volunteers to read their summaries aloud.

I do collect this assignment for a formative, completion grade.