Reflection: Developing a Conceptual Understanding Vocabulary: Making Definitions Simple - Section 2: Explaining the Meaning of Words by Shrinking Definitions


I spend a lot of time on vocabulary development.  A lot of time. An inordinate amount of time. Within a unit, I may spend two or more days with vocabulary. The reason why is because vocabulary is so critical to student success, especially Tier 2 and Tier 3 words, and sometimes? Sometimes I think Tier 2 words are even more important than Tier 3 words because Tier 2 words show up in multiple contexts and they often have more than one definition.

I learned about Marzano and vocabulary a few years ago and internalized many of his teachings to the point where I didn't realize I was doing it.  However, I recently attended a vocabulary conference that used Marzano's six step vocabulary method as a framework, and it reminded me of some really important things.

  • Vocabulary instruction takes time. 
  • Vocabulary instruction requires students to talk about the words.
  • Vocabulary instruction requires students to revisit the words and interact with the words more than once.
  • Vocabulary instruction requires students to play with the words.

Here's an infographic about vocabulary with some interesting data.  I took a screenshot of some statistics about vocabulary instruction (see picture below). It also has a cool picture of the different tiers of vocabulary that I love.

Vocabulary instruction isn't a waste of time.  It's actually a critical component of instruction.

  Marzano and Vocabulary
  Developing a Conceptual Understanding: Marzano and Vocabulary
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Vocabulary: Making Definitions Simple

Unit 2: Analyzing Literature with Gary Soto’s Seventh Grade
Lesson 2 of 8

Objective: Students will be able to determine and clarify the meaning of words by shrinking dictionary definitions and matching definitions and pictures.

Big Idea: When dictionaries are just too much. . . definition shrinking and visualizing unfamiliar words.

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