Arkansas State Personnel Development Grant

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Lesson One


 

Essential Element: Oral Language (Oral and Visual Communication)

 

Framework(s):

  • OV.1.5.1 Develop vocabulary from content area texts

  • OV.1.6.1 Develop vocabulary from content area texts and personal

reading

  • OV.1.7.1 Use vocabulary from content area texts and personal reading

  • OV.1.8.1 Use vocabulary from content area texts and reading/literature

 

 

Rationale:

One of the oldest findings in educational research is the strong relationship between vocabulary knowledge and reading comprehension (Stahl, 1999). Research has shown that a reader’s general vocabulary knowledge is the single best predictor of how well a reader can understand text. Students indirectly learn the meanings of most words through everyday experiences with oral and written language. However, some vocabulary must be explicitly taught. Knowing words does not mean pronunciation and reciting a definition from the dictionary. Knowing a word means knowing the concept behind the word. Concept definition mapping is a specific, yet flexible vocabulary teaching strategy for the content area subjects. It’s particularly powerful for social studies and science teaching, but can be applied to special area subjects and the language arts. It requires little advance preparation and actively engages students in constructing meaning.

 

 

Materials:

  • Informational text

  • Chart paper and markers

  • Concept Definition map (one per student)

 

 

Direct Explanation:

Today you are going to learn a strategy that will help you understand the meanings of key concepts and specific vocabulary words that you encounter in your subject areas. We will be using Concept Definition Maps which are graphic organizers that will help you understand the essential attributes, qualities, or characteristics of a word’s meaning.” (Discuss these terms with the students if there appears to be a lack of understanding.) Students are asked to define the word (from the text, if possible), give examples of the word, describe its features/characteristics, and to make a personal connection or ask a question related to the word. The strategy moves students from knowing a word in one context to exploring layers of meaning in different contexts, and actively engages them in mapping,/webbing/organizing. As students read and discuss further, you can assign them to add details to the maps. Doing this enlarges their understanding of meaning and raises the chances of their actually using the word in their speaking, thinking, and writing vocabularies.

 

 

Model/Guided Practice:

  1. Using a flip chart or overhead transparency, display an example of a concept definition map.

  2. Discuss the questions that a definition should answer:

  1.  
    • What is it? (essential)

    • What are its properties, features, characteristics? (essential)

    • What are examples? (essential)

    • What are personal connections you can make (or questions you may have) related to the word? (option)

    • What is it different from (option)

  1. Model how to use the map with a familiar vocabulary term.

  2. Ask students to read, or read aloud, a short article or passage, such as “States of Matter”, to find relevant information.

  3. After reading, think out loud as you complete the concept definition map for the term solid or whatever term you choose. (Sample solution is provided if you wish to use the term solid.)

  4. After completing the map, write a definition of the term solid from the information on the map. (Write definition on overhead transparency as you review the information on the map.)

  5. Provide guided practice by reading a short article or passage. Then work as a whole group to map the features of a specific word or concept.

 

 

Independent Practice/Application:

  • Have students work in pairs to complete a map for a concept or vocabulary term from their current unit of study. They may choose to use a dictionary or glossary, if necessary, but encourage them to use their own experience and background knowledge as much as possible.

  • After students complete their maps, ask them to write a complete definition of the term/concept, using the information from their maps.

  • As a unit progresses, students may refine their maps as they learn additional characteristics and examples of the concept.

 

 

Assessment: After students complete their maps, ask them to write a complete definition of the term/concept, using the information from their maps. The definition will be assessed based on a rubric designed to reflect the information found on a concept definition map.

 

 

Tier II Additions/Accommodations:

  • Work in a peer group or with an assigned partner

  • Use Pairs-Read strategy to process the informational text

  • Complete the concept definition map on chart paper with group/partner

 

Assessment: After student completes map, ask him to write a complete definition of the term/concept, using the information from their maps. The definition will be assessed based on a rubric designed to reflect the information found on a concept definition map and the needs of the student.

 

 

Tier III Modifications:

  • Work with a peer, paraprofessional, parent volunteer, or teacher to determine the relevant information from the text

  • Use Pairs-Read strategy to process the informational text

  • Use sticky notes to record the relevant information needed for the CDM and place on chart paper under appropriate headings

 

Assessment: Student is responsible for a determined number of relevant information found on the concept definition map, depending on the needs of the student.

 

 

Tier IV Modifications:

  • Pre-teach the meanings of essential, characteristics and option

  • Work with a peer, paraprofessional, parent volunteer, or teacher and have student choose from a list of examples and properties

  • Provide support in pictures/icons to represent the target word, examples and properties

 

Assessment: Student is responsible for a determined number of relevant information found on the concept definition map, depending on the needs of the student; these should be less complex than what Tier III students are doing.

 

 

Tier V Modifications:

  • Work with a peer, paraprofessional, parent volunteer, or teacher and have student choose from a list of pictures/icons of examples and properties of target definitions

  • Have peer, paraprofessional, parent volunteer, or teacher to aid student in placing pictures/icons on concept definition map

 

Assessment: Student is responsible for a predetermined number of relevant information about each word, depending on the needs of the student.

 

Content Area Vocabulary + Concept Definition Map

 

References:

 

Stahl (1999) Vocabulary Development, Brookline Books

 

Arkansas Department of Education (2004) “Smart Step/ Next Step Strategies for the Content Areas”

 

Copyright © 2006 Arkansas Department of Education. All rights reserved. School districts may reproduce these materials for in-school student use only. No resale. Materials may not be reproduced, distributed or sold for Commercial use or profit. ADE employees are not authorized to waive these restrictions.

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