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Vocabulary Strategies

Previewing strategies:

Story Impressions:  10/19/10

This activity introduces significant terms and concepts to students before they encounter them in an assignment.  Follow these steps...

  1. Preview a text or story, identifying a series of 2-3 word phrases related to the content or plot events. (Wordle.net - great website to help pull out important key words in a text) List the terms vertically in the order the students will encounter them while reading the text.  Include both familiar and new terms that cue students to the sequence of events or cause/effect relationships. 
  2. Have students work with partners to brainstorm possible connections to the chain of clues on their worksheets.  Encourage them to make predictions about both the content  of the text and the meaning of the unfamiliar words.
  3. Individually, students draft their own "impression" paragraph of what the text might contain.  (Tell the students what type of text the terms come from - textbook, newspaper, short article, story, etc).  Students create a possible version of the text based on their knowledge of the key words.  All terms must be used in the paragraph in the order they are listed on the left side of the page.
  4. Have students share their summaries with the class. 
  5. As the students read the text, have them check off the terms in the chain that they used accurately in their prediction summaries.
  6. To demonstrate new learning, students write a second paragraph, using all the terms (and possibly new terms) in the order they are represented in the chain, summarizing what they have read and correcting their predictions. 
Story Impressions Fiction Example
Story Impressions Textbook Example


Vocabulary Log: 8/30/10
Here is a vocabulary log to help students understand vocabulary definitions and why the words are important.  Students create student friendly defintions, explain why it is important, and draw pictures or symbols to represent the words.


Find Someone Who Knows:  11/11/10
This strategy can be used to review vocabulary or to check to see if your students understand the objectives they have been taught before a unit test.

  1. Create the "Find Someone Who Knows" graphic organizer (see attached template) using important vocabulary words AND/OR the unit objectives. 
  2. As you think about what questions to ask, try to incorporate Blooms or Costa's Higher Level of Questioning...
  3. Give out Find Someone Who Knows graphic organizer to your students. 
  4. Participants will need to mingle around the room and find one person who can answer the questions on the sheet. They can use only one person to explain something within one block. They can not answer the question even if they know the answer, but find someone who can tell them the answer. Then they are to write the person’s name in the block and his/her answer.
  5. Call time when they tend to get off track (after about 5 minutes). Tell them it’s okay if they aren’t finished.
  6. Have students share what they have on their charts and HIGHLIGHT what they still need to review for the test.
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