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Lesson Five


 

Essential Element: Vocabulary

 

Framework(s): Determine useful and relevant words.

  • R.11.5.7

  • R.11.6.7

  • R.11.7.7

  • R.11.8.7

 

Rationale:

One of the oldest findings in educational research is the strong relationship between vocabulary knowledge and reading comprehension. Stahl and Fairbanks (1986) found that approaches providing only definitional information did not significantly affect children’s reading comprehension. In contrast, methods that provided both definitional and contextual information did significantly improve comprehension (Stahl, 1999). The Frayer Model vocabulary strategy stresses understanding words within the context of a reading selection by analyzing and then applying the information. It helps students construct rich and sophisticated meanings of important terms. This increases the chance that students will actually remember and use the word/concept in meaningful ways and in multiple contexts.

 

Materials:

  • informational text

  • Frayer Model graphic organizer grids

 

Direct Explanation:

Today we will be using a vocabulary strategy called The Frayer Model. It is a graphic organizer used for word analysis and vocabulary building.” Show students the Frayer Model grid, either on an overhead transparency or large chart paper, or give them individual copies. “The grid contains four compartments for recording information about a concept. The compartments are labeled ‘essential characteristics, nonessential characteristics, examples, and non-examples’. This is where you will list the information as you discuss the concept.”

 

  • The process requires dividing students into cooperative groups with the task of listing as many examples of the key concept as they can.

  • These examples are recorded on the board and students are encouraged to add to the list or challenge examples already offered.

  • Students analyze these examples to figure out what they all seem to have in common. It’s during this phase that students begin to identify the key characteristics of a concept.

  • As students read, they locate information which belongs in each of the four Frayer Model quadrants (depending on the form used): essential characteristics (what all have); nonessential characteristics (what some have and others do not); examples (these are examples of …); non-examples (these are not examples of …).

  • A natural result of this activity is that students confirm or reject information generated earlier from the class as they complete the grid.

  • After reading, the teacher leads a discussion on the examples and characteristics that students were able to confirm from the text. Other characteristics and examples are then placed in the nonessential and non-examples sections.

  • Further study may be necessary to determine whether some items are examples or non-examples.

  • As a final step, students write a definition of the concept including all key or defining characteristics.

 

*See sample solution: Model for Mammals (Life Science/Biology)

 

Model:

  1. Introduce a key term/concept.

  2. Now list several examples of the key concept on the board. Be sure to list words that are NON-examples, as well. Encourage students to add more examples or challenge those already offered.

  3. Now make a second list of common characteristics or attributes of the examples you listed. (Ask students to offer suggestions, too.)

  4. Display a Frayer Model grid on a chart tablet, overhead transparency, or the board. Remind students of the information to be entered on the graphic organizer—essential characteristics, nonessential characteristics, examples, and non-examples.

  5. Now read aloud (or ask students to read) a selected text passage to help confirm or reject the examples/attributes listed.

  6. When finished reading, return to the original list. On the Frayer grid, place examples, characteristics, etc. that you were able to confirm by the reading. List other characteristics and examples as “nonessential characteristics” and “non-examples” in the appropriate grids. (Enlist the students’ help, if you like.)

  7. Now write a description of the concept that includes all the key or defining characteristics from the Frayer Model grid you developed.

 

 

Guided/Independent Practice:

  1. Introduce a key concept.

  2. Have students form cooperative groups to brainstorm as many examples of the key concept as possible. When they are finished, list examples on the board or overhead for all to see. Afterwards, give them an opportunity to add more examples, or challenge any already listed. Remember that it’s useful to have a list of valid examples as well as non-examples.

  3. Now, with students’ help, start a second list of common characteristics or attributes of the examples listed on the board. It’s okay to have characteristics listed that are not common to all at this point, as these will become “nonessentials” on the grid.

  4. Ask students to read the text passage. (Distribute blank Frayer Model graphic organizers to record information while reading, or ask students to make their own.) Review the information to be entered in each section—essential characteristics, nonessential characteristics, examples, and non-examples. Students will now read the selected article/text passage to confirm or reject the information generated on the board.

  5. After reading the passage, go back to the original list. Using a chart tablet, the board, or an overhead transparency of the Frayer Model, place examples and characteristics the group was able to confirm from their reading (plus any new information gained) in the appropriate sections on the model. (Other characteristics and examples will be placed in the nonessential and non-example categories.)

  6. As a final step, ask students to write a description/definition that includes all key or defining characteristics of the concept. Have them share their definitions. (If you have them write definitions on chart paper, they can post for sharing and discussion.)

 

Assessment: Each student writes a description/definition that includes all key or defining characteristics of the concept.

 

 

Tier II Additions/Accommodations:

  • Students will list each example/characteristic on a Post-It note.

  • Students read the text passage/selected article using the Pairs-Read strategy.

 

Assessment: Student writes a description/definition that includes only two or three defining characteristics of the concept.

 

 

Tier III Modifications:

  • Student will work with a peer to list examples/characteristics on Post-It notes.

  • Students read the text passage/selected article using the Pairs-Read strategy.

  • Student will work with a peer as they do incremental checks of the text passage/selected article to confirm or reject the information generated.

 

Assessment: Given a mixed list of essential and nonessential characteristics of the concept, the student will choose three to five defining characteristics of the concept.

Tier IV Modifications:

  • Reduce the complexity of the text

  • Pre-teach the vocabulary to ensure student understands the words

  • Use simpler terms than essential and nonessential – need or not needed

  • Separate the Frayer model to allow the visual to facilitate the student understanding the difference in essential nonessential

  • Expand the student’s vocabulary by using the terms essential and non essential after the student understands the concept

 

Assessments:

  • When given a word bank the student will choose one to three defining characteristics of the concept

  • Break task into smaller steps

  • Successful completion of assignment at a predetermined level

 

 

Tier V Modifications:

  • Insure child has basic concepts such as same/different, cause and effect, labeling, turn taking and object permanence. If the student does not have these concepts then teach these prior to using essential and non essential objects.

  • Reduce the complexity of the text – have the text be relevant to the student

  • Pre-teach the vocabulary to ensure student understands the words

  • Color code needed words and color code the Frayer Model

  • Provide the student with pre-made parts of the Frayer Model

  • Errorless learning by having student select only the essential elements, with objects, pictures, words, etc. that are left over being the nonessential

  • Expand the student’s vocabulary by using the terms essential and non essential after the student understands the concept

 

Assessments:

  • When given a word bank the student will choose one to three defining characteristics of the concept using the method of access most appropriate to the student

  • Break task into smaller steps

  • Successful completion of assignment at a predetermined level

 

References:

 

Beers, Kylene (2003) When Kids Can’t Read What Teachers Can Do: A Guide for Teachers 6-12, Heinemann, p. 176-203

 

Southern Regional Education Board (2003) Literacy Across the Curriculum: Setting and Implementing Goals for Grades Six through 12

 

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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