Friday, May 26, 2017

Building Your Students' Vocabulary (part 4 in a series) #BookSnaps

Thanks for sticking with me through this series about vocabulary.
For those of you working with middle and high school students, 
this one is for YOU! 

We've all had them:
Students who turn their noses up at ELA assignments
Those who avoid participating in class 
The ones who don't or won't do assignments at all
Kids who are bored as can be in school
Students who just hate school in general 

Maybe it's time to....

If you're an SLP, you're likely working with students with language disorders - language is just plain hard for them. Do you like doing things you know you aren't good at? I know I don't.  I'm terrible at math so I avoid it like the plague. 

When anything is harder. students often dislike it- just like I dislike math. 
I hate cleaning, for example, but I have to do it as not to live in a pigpen.  
I trudge through by I fixing myself my favorite refreshing drink and putting on my favorite music while I get my chores on.

Why not use our students' favorite things in instruction, too?  
Motivated students work harder and are happier (good-bye behavior issues). 
Happy students = happy educators


Don't know Snapchat? Don't worry, you don't need to. 
Besides, your students can teach you anything you need to know.

Here's the good news - you don't even need a snapchat account to do this (but you're missing out on some fun); here's what you need to know:

1) I recommend this for high school students but middle school students would jump at the chance to do it, too! It will require you laying down some rules and expectations.

2) Your students use their account to take a photo of the text they are reading and create a snap (just getting to use their phone or other device in class will be a motivator in itself). They will undoubtedly be Snapchat saavy enough to work the app. The tricky part will be getting them to think about the skill assignment you've given them (citing evidence to support questions you pose, finding and describing unknown vocab words, identifying character traits, finding text that describes mood, and so on). The possibilities are endless!

3) Encourage them to be creative and use appropriate Snapchat captions and stickers. School should still be fun sometimes!

4) Let your kids know they do not have to snapchat the image at all (but they can) nor do they need to send it anyone. They just need to screenshot it, and email it directly to you from their device. 

5) Want to get them even more pumped about literacy? Print the booksnaps from your email (if you're lucky enough to have a hefty ink supply) and create a whole wall of booksnaps! Or a book!  Start a booksnap revolution! 

At least one educator, Tara Martin, actually uses her own Snapchat account to exchange booksnaps with her students. That makes me a little nervous, but you should check out how she uses Snapchat HERE

Want to know MORE about using Snapchat in instruction? 


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Part 3 in a Series

I want to share with you some more tried and true strategies for teaching vocabulary. 

The first is LINCS from the University of Kansas. 

LINCS is a mnemonic device for ingraining new words. It helps students to make memorable connections and relationships between the word and it's meaning.

For example, I vividly remember the first time I heard the word minuscule as a child. I looked up the definition (because in contrast to many of my future students, I was bookish) and read that it meant "extremely small; tiny." In my mind I made a connection that "minuscule" sounded like "mini school" and to this day I invision a teeny tiny school anytime I hear the word minuscule. That's the type of thing that children with normal language do naturally. Unfortunately, our students with language impairments do not do it naturally. In fact, they have a hard time doing it at all - even with our training and lots of practice.

This is the LINCS strategy; a way to give a word meaning that will "stick."

L ist the parts 
I  dentify a reminding word 
N ote a linking story
C reate a linking picture
S elf test 

As you can tell, the strategy uses visual imagery and associations to create a (hopefully) powerful memory between a word and its meaning. The University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning explains why it works:

Using the LINCS Strategy transforms  a potentially weak link between a word and its definition into a chain of very strong links. 

Research supporting the LINCS strategy is impressive. A study was conducted in a social studies class, and the LINCS strategy was taught to the students in that class. Learning disabled students in the class performed a mean of 53 percent correct on a pretest and then at a mean of 77 percent correct after learning and using the strategy. Interestingly enough, students in the control class who did not learn the strategy actually decreased from pretest to posttest.

You can read more about LINCS research and what the pretests and posttests consisted of here

There are countless examples of LINCS graphic organizers to be found online or you can use a sheet of paper or index card. 

Here is a video demonstrating the use of a "card" (sheet of paper or index card) which has plenty of room for even beginning writers: 

For older students who can squeeze more writing into a small space, this LINCS table (shown below) is very popular, and there are plenty of similar templates to be found on Teachers Pay Teachers. 

Check out this video explaining the use of a LINCS table! 

You can see more examples and read more at this guest post by Nicole Allison @ Speech Rooms News

Now, LINCS isn't the only game in town. Teacher extraordinaire, Dr. Anita Archer, has her own methods of explicit vocabulary instruction. 

Check out this stellar vocab instruction from Dr. Anita Archer following reading a story aloud...

She does the same kind of thing with the older crowd, too. You can see more of her videos at her website here.

Dr. Anita Archer's method of teaching new words includes:

Introduce the Word.
- Write the word on the board or show it in a screen
- Pronounce the word or guide students in using their decoding skills to determine the pronunciation of the word. 
- Have students pronounce the word, repeating the word a number of times if the word is unfamiliar or difficult to proounce. 
Provide a student- friendly explanation of the word.
- Be sure that the definition contains only known words and is easy to understand.
Illustrate with examples. 
- The examples can be concrete, visual or verbal. 
(Verbal examples were used to illustrate concentrate, impressed and educated in the video above.)
Check students' understanding. This can be done various ways:
- Ask "deep processing questions" 
- Have students discern between examples and non-examples
- Have students generate their own examples. 

  • Research shows that a student in the 50th percentile (in terms of ability to comprehend subject matter taught in school) with no direct vocabulary instruction will score in the 50th percentile ranking.
  • The same student, after content-area terms have been taught in a strategic way, raises his/her comprehension ability to the 83rd percentile. 

TAKE AWAY: for ALL students, explicit vocabulary instruction WORKS! 

Please check back for the 4th part of my vocabulary series coming soon :) 

Jasper Roberts Consulting - Widget