Very few educators or parents would argue against the idea of vocabulary development in children. How then, shall we best help our students develop their vocabularies? I’m glad you asked. The best method of vocabulary instruction that I’ve found is laid out in the book Bringing Words to Life by Beck, McKeown, and Kucan. I’ve been using their methods of vocabulary instruction for more than half a decade, and If there’s one thing you should take away from this blog post, it’s that you should read this book. I will try to summarize the ideas here, but I will keep coming back to the same theme: .
This video is a synopsis of an innovative, award-winning project that my classes did at the end of a personal narrative unit in my 8th Grade Language Arts Class. The title of the video, Bringing Words to Life, comes from a quote from one of my students who saw her personal experience become a finely produced movie. When I asked what she thought of seeing her own story on the screen, she said that, it was crazy to see my words that I wrote come to life like that.
This problem based learning project took many hours of planning and production. However, the rewards were well worth it. By employing the technology at our disposal, the students were able to see their own personal narratives take shape in a way new and exciting to them, and in the process learn that their work doesnt always have to end as words on the page they can come to life!
Anyone who has asked a child to look up a word in the dictionary is aware of the flaws of dictionary definitions. In some cases, the student may get it, but he is often just as confused as he was before looking up the word. The authors of Bringing Words to Life suggest using “student-friendly explanations” as opposed to dictionary definitions. Giving multiple, directive contexts (ie. good examples) is also important.
PPT – Bringing Words to Life: Building Academic Vocabulary While Leveling the Playing Field for All Students PowerPoint presentation | free to download - id: 1b676f-ZDc1Z