How great would it be for students to have ONE tool to use across ALL content areas? Think about the time it would save!
AND… How great would it be if your students could DIY the graphic organizer whenever it is needed - by the student or the teacher?!
I took a course a number of years back on teaching English Language Learners Mathematics. The course provided me with tons of strategies, and the best part was that they were applicable for ALL learners.
There was one strategy that stood out above the others; I have used it across the curriculum for ALL learners in ALL classrooms.
Vocabulary is extremely important to comprehension of content so taking the time for vocabulary is also just as valuable! However, with that said, I understand that time is always a factor. I assume the graphic organizer your district uses to teach vocabulary is the Frayer Model. This is one of my favorite graphic organizers because students are able to make this on their own for vocabulary, brainstorming, etc. The concept of the model is easily transferrable to other content learning as well.
The Frayer Model organizer is to be used before reading to activate background knowledge, during reading to monitor vocabulary, or after reading to assess vocabulary.
Here are a few ways that I have included this organizer, with that pesky TIME factor in mind:
-1) Assign student groups the key vocabulary terms at the start of the unit. Working cooperatively, students can complete one graphic organizer on the word their group was assigned. The group can then present their organizer to the class, essentially teaching the other students the new vocabulary word.
-2) Introduce the new words for a unit through teacher directed completion of the Frayer Models. So I complete the Frayer Model on a large poster of the model that I have laminated. I essentially teach the word as I complete the organizer. Students copy my organizer and complete their own at the same time.
-3) I use the Frayer Models as part of my end of unit assessment. I always start a unit by one of the two aforementioned vocabulary activities. Then, as part of my unit’s final assessment or as a standalone assessment, I ask students to complete a Frayer Model for key vocabulary. I write the terms I want them to define in the middle, and then, they complete the rest. To differentiate, I might also fill in other parts of the organizer that are not as essential to learning such as the non-examples section.
-4) At checkpoints throughout the year, I have students independently complete a Frayer Model of all of the previously learned vocabulary words. At the end of the year, we put these words into ABC order, play games with them, and bind them for the students to have as a resource for the next grade level (or at home for homework). This can also be done at the end of each unit prior to the unit assessment.
One important piece to keep in mind is that multi-sensory teaching is always best practice! So a visual depiction of vocabulary words is essential to learning. For example, if the word is FRACTION. Students could draw 1/2 as a visual of a fraction and a cookie divided in halves.
I typically have TWO - yes, TWO as in 2 - math word walls going at once. I have my Math Unit Word Wall and my math word wall. The Math Unit Word Wall contains all of the math vocabulary of the unit we are currently learning about. This has either the Frayer Model graphic organizers created by students for each of the words or my own creation which includes the word, the definition, and always a visual example. My Math Word Wall has the math terms with visuals that we have learned about throughout the year in ABC order. Basically, when we finish a unit, our math unit word wall words get transferred to our math word wall.
A new vocabulary word is only learned after a student has interacted with the term in a variety of ways in many exposures. For example, students need to say the word, use the word in context, interact with the word in text and conversation, and apply this understanding to the content. Research estimates that it takes as many as 17 exposures for a student to learn a new vocabulary word. It was concluded that exposures were most effective when done over time - so spiral review is key!
Spiral review is key!
Refer to your word wall. Refer to previously learned terms. Due to the fact that the number of exposure is what will embed these words into our long-term memory, being purposeful in our teaching of vocabulary is key!
The Frayer Model is a graphic organizer typically used for building student vocabulary. It requires students to define target vocabulary and apply learned knowledge through examples and non-examples, characteristics, and/or a visual image of the word’s meaning.
A typical Frayer Model looks like this…
Frayer Models tap into students’ prior knowledge, enabling meaningful connections to be created. Students can link prior knowledge to new knowledge, and they can determine how one concept relates to another concept.
Student success is measured by the vocabulary of information that one holds regarding a topic (Marzano & Pickering, 2005). Thus, vocabulary is important. Vocabulary is the foundation for comprehension. And for students to succeed, they need to comprehend subject matter.
So if the Frayer Model helps students comprehend vocabulary, why can’t it help them comprehend content?
The Frayer Model can make content comprehensible!
The Frayer Model can make content comprehensible!
Appear to be amazed… I will now magically turn the Frayer Model, typically utilized for vocabulary, into a tool for use across the curriculum!
Here is one way to use the Frayer Model in Reading!
The Frayer Model also promotes critical thinking in students for vocabulary and content. Critical thinking is the objective analysis of facts to form a judgment about a topic.
The Frayer Model helps students organize facts around a topic, formulate an idea connected to the facts and analyze the topic.
Use of the Frayer Model improves retention of information.
The model acts as a visual reference. The organizers can be posted as anchor charts or word walls in the classroom or kept in student notebooks for reference. Students can use them as a study skill tool. Additionally, some students may use them during tests as an accommodation.
DIY this graphic organizer!
Graphic organizers are important learning tools for our students. They help them make connections, organize thoughts, and access the general curriculum independently. And if independence is the ultimate goal for our students, let’s get them DIYing their own graphic organizers! (Plus, papers tight! How many of you have experienced the one ream of paper per month rule yet?)
Students can draw their own Frayer Model OR they can fold their own…
Make these whole class, individually, or in small groups. If the class makes a Frayer Model, it is acceptable to allow only some students to use them as reference on a test if the students’ IEPs require such supports.
~By Miss Rae
Marzano, R. J., & Pickering, D. J. (2005). Building academic vocabulary: Teacher’s manual. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
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