Your students will internalize these domain-specific language arts terms by making them their own! To complete an entry, students rewrite the word with correct spelling and write a definition in their own words. Then they use it in a personally meaningful sentence, draw a picture or symbol, and add extra information like synonyms or examples. Finally, they evaluate their level of confidence using the word. This process may be completed within a single lesson or over the course of a unit. As students gain deeper familiarity with a word, they can come back to the dictionary to add ideas to their entries.
A helpful chart for the teacher shows alignment of academic vocabulary words with the ELA standards. These words are used in the Common Core standards or can support instruction in the ELA strands: Reading Literature, Reading Informational Text, Writing, Speaking & Listening, and Language.
First, plan ahead: use the chart on pages 3-8 to select academic vocabulary words related to the standard you will be teaching. In my own classroom, I tend to introduce more words early in the semester. We spend more time reviewing or adding to those words as the year goes on. I recommend adding no more than five new words in a week to your dictionary, even if you introduce more than that in class. You will have time to go back and complete entries for words you skip as your curriculum spirals throughout the year!
These Academic Vocabulary graphic organizers do not have the definitions provided. A major part of the learning experience for students is coming up with their own definitions, pictorial representations, and examples for the words.
- Guide for the teacher with standards alignment
- Full-page organizer with instructions for completing (poster or whiteboard display)
- Full-page sample completed organizer
- Blank page with four graphic organizers
- Google Slides version: 145 slides including student instructions, hyperlinked table of contents, and graphic organizers (one term per slide)
- Print only version: 36 pages (four terms per page) formatted to make a mini-dictionary
Read this blog post about How I Teach Academic Vocabulary.
Use these graphic organizers together with my other Common Core resources to get the most from your academic vocabulary instruction.