Academic or Tier 3 vocabulary is a neglected academic focus in most classrooms today. Students with limited background knowledge or deficits in academic vocabulary will find little academic success on assessments. Teachers need to teach academic vocabulary in the early grades and daily. 50-100 academic words should be introduced as early as kindergarten and directly taught, spiraled throughout the year with rigorous fun methods. Each content specific or academic domain has 10-25 words that need to be taught to mastery each school year. The best method I have found teaching academic vocabulary, that has true student appeal and real staying power is using games in many forms. Sean Taylor M.Ed.
The game my students love the best is Vocabulary Sparkle
Have your children stand or sit on their desk so they are facing the teacher. Start by reading the tier 3 academic term, denotation, connotation and or a student friendly example. Ask your students to buddy buzz with their shoulder partner what they think the answer is. Draw a students name from your popsicle sticks and give the child drawn a chance to explain the vocabulary word or definition. The student must give a quick definition or kid friendly sentence or they must sit down. The child that cannot give an answer can get a hint or clue when new terms or definitions are being introduced. If two students in a row are not able to answer the question the teachers gives a denotation, connotation and kid friendly example. The students must share, retell and discuss what the teacher just revealed. Continue the game until you are down to one child! Use the same 10-25 terms to check and ensure students are really discussing and learning new terms and word meanings. The last child that has answered the most vocabulary gets a small bag of popcorn. Every child that answers a hard vocabulary question correctly gets a pretzel, stamp or a sticker. They love this and it is great review for challenging academic vocabulary! Start with a mix of easy and hard words to get the kids excited and ready to study the challenging academic words.
Free PDF Vocabulary List
Links to PDF Academic Word List The Tennessee Academic Vocabulary Project NWEA MAP Test VOCABULARY for the Web-based MAP® system
Oklahoma Academic Vocabulary Suggested Words and Terms Marzano based list
The Tennessee Academic Vocabulary Project Prepared for the State of Tennessee Department of Education by Marzano & Associates