Be Specific: Using Content Specific Words

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SWBAT identify and use content specific vocabulary in their writing.

Big Idea

When students write a report to inform others, they need content specific vocabulary to teach readers about their topic.

Introduction and Modeling

10 minutes

Students have taken notes and added voice to their writing. Another way researches make their writing better is by adding content specific vocabulary. 

In this lesson, I model how to mine for content specific vocabulary and use it in my writing. Sometimes its as easy as looking through a section of a book that supports my topic. I then can record all or most of the vocabulary that stands out and their meaning. If the book I've used is organized in such a simple way, I can look through my writing to find places that would be better if I use more specific words. For example, in the section on industry, I can use the words, "salt mine" to describe the specific way people "harvest" salt in this region. 

As students get ready to draft their reports, they can benefit from having a miniglossary based on the vocabulary they have read and use the words in their writing and even in their presentation.

Main Activity

20 minutes

To support students in actually using the words in their writing, I show them a few words that I've found and ask them how I could use them in my writing. For example, "cyclo" is the name of a device that looks like a carriage attached to a bicycle. Its used for transportation. Students suggest that I use the word "cyclo" to describe the way tourist can get around in the section about tourism.

I explain that writing is dynamic and sometimes we do many things at once. So today, they will collect words and use them. Sometimes they will have a great idea about where to use a word and when that happens, they should write it down in the appropriate section immediately. Other times, students think a word is cool or important but are not sure where to use it. Either way, they should record it on the worksheet to be stored for later.

Students spend time using resources and reviewing their notes to find appropriate places to use content specific vocabulary.


5 minutes

By the end of this lesson, all students should have some words written down on the worksheet and some may have already used the words in their writing.

To close this lesson, I ask students to share one content specific vocabulary word that might use and explain its meaning.