Following are some of my favorite ideas from Bringing Words to Life about the significance of follow-up activities and maintaining word knowledge:
We need “…daily analytic activities that engage and support students in thinking about and using the words in a variety of formats and contexts.” (Beck, McKeown, & Kucan)
“…the assessment should not be thought of as closing the door on learning a word. Students need to continue their interactions with words across a semester or school year. The more opportunities students have to think about and use the words they are learning, the more elaborate their mental representations of the words will be.” (Beck, McKeown, & Kucan)
“Vocabulary research strongly points to the need for frequent encounters with new words if they are to become a permanent part of an individual’s vocabulary repertoire. Those encounters should not be limited to the week in which words are the focus of instruction. Rather, students should have understanding of words by meeting words they have learned in contexts beyond the instructional ones. Keeping students’ attention on words they have learned can be supported in a nearly infinite variety of ways.” (Beck, McKeown, & Kucan)
I regularly post some of the ways that I keep my students’ attention on newly acquired vocabulary words. The idea of keeping words alive throughout the year requires incredible organization on the part of the teacher and daily built in review time. When I think about what it means to really know a word, again, I want to know that my students can understand it when they read or hear it. I wand to know they can use it in writing and speech. Ultimately, I want to know that they can think with this new word in a variety of contexts. In order to ensure that my instructional activities are in line with my goals, I created a weekly vocabulary matrix that will assist me with planning my follow up activities. It is used to make sure that my planning is in line with my instructional goals, and it looks like this:
For example, if you look back at December’s blog, you will see the vocabulary game “Majority Rules.” In that game the students are required to listen to the teacher ask questions: What do teens usually consume? What consumes gas? Then they are required to write responses: Teens often consume flaming hot Cheetos. Motorcycles consume gas. Because the answers are original they are required to think about the words in multiple contexts. Thus, “Majority Rules” would have the above boxes selected. For the remainder of the week (or several weeks) my goal would be to plan activities that fill the remainder of the boxes, so that all of my instructional targets are met. Specifically, that students use the new vocabulary words in their reading, writing, speaking, listening, and thinking in a variety of contexts.
Ms. Young is a teacher who wants to keep a record of what works!