Reflection: ELL Students Introduction to Scientific Observation & Measurement: Day One of Plaid Pete's Prize Potato - Section 5: Vocabulary Instruction


Intermittent Practice

Students who are learning English as a second language, as well as those who have low levels of academic language, need intermittent practice in order to acquire difficult content area language.  I give the What's The Matter Plaid Pete? Vocabulary Practice Lesson 3 sheet a week or two after the investigation is completed.  (I am also including the What's The What's The Matter Plaid Pete? Vocabulary Practice Lesson 3 Answer Key.  In between this time, we have been doing other vocabulary work, and will continue to practice these words.  I use every moment I can - for example, lining up for lunch, specialist classes, and when it is time to line up to go home.  

I have students work on these sheets in their team with their team members, using the vocabulary cards from their Science Notebooks.  I want my students to have as many opportunities as possible to interact with content area language, and in social situations where they have to negotiate meaning with others.  I know the research behind socially mediated language learning is strong, and I want my students to acquire the academic language they need to be successful in middle school, high school, and on up through colleg

Repeated Vocabulary Work + No Opt Out

I know that the research says my English Language Learners must say and use a word correctly at least eighty times, before it becomes a part of their spoken vocabulary.  I am continually reinforcing the use of precise Science Vocabulary, and asking my students to define these terms.  

This means that there is no opting out of answering a question - even if you don't know the answer.  Students can ask a team mate - and even if they just repeat word for word what their team mate says, they are still practicing the word and saying its meaning.  I praise them for saying it and this expectation becomes a part of the fabric of our classroom.  Nobody is allowed to say, "I don't know."  I give students a choice of whom they would like to ask in their team, and almost always, their team members vie for the opportunity to assist them.  In this video clip it is the end of September, and we are building a classroom community where everyone is a teacher and everyone is a learner.

Extend Vocabulary

During a grammar lesson a few days later, in which we worked on reviewing the complete subject/complete predicate and simple subject/simple predicate, I used another GLAD Strategy, a Sentence Patterning Chart.  I have constructed this chart from a piece of chart paper, and laminated it several times to make it sturdy.  We use our Science Vocabulary words in this lesson, because it is another opportunity for my English Language Learners and students with low academic vocabulary to hear these words yet again, and discuss their meanings in yet another context.  

 First, I write a plural noun in the noun column (It is easier to use a plural noun rather than a singular noun, as there are less difficulties with awkward combinations), and then ask my students to look through their Science notebooks to help supply the other parts of speech.  I call on students to come up and use a meter stick to pick a word from each column to create a sentence.  We discuss word meanings, and parts of speech, in addition to using it to teach sentence structure


  ELL Students: Building a Language Embedded Classroom to Support Student Use of Precise Science Vocabulary
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Introduction to Scientific Observation & Measurement: Day One of Plaid Pete's Prize Potato

Unit 1: What's The Matter Plaid Pete?
Lesson 3 of 22

Objective: SWBAT identify and collect qualitative and quantitative data.

Big Idea: How do scientists collect data? What kinds of data do they collect? Students learn about qualitative and quantitative data.

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Science, ELL, GLAD, Science Vocabulary, 5E Model of Inquiry
  65 minutes
organizing data into
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