Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Word Relationships

The CCSS and most educational language arts program include specific elements to help students understand the relationships between words.  The CCSS added "shades of meaning" as a core concept which is far more rigorous than just discussing words as synonyms.  

Here is a list of some types of word relationships.

Homographs are words that are spelled the same, but have different meanings and different pronunciations: bow as in arrow vs bow as in taking a bow after a performance, bass as in fish vs bass as in a stringed instrument. Wind as windy, wind as in what to do with an old clock.

heteronyms - multiple meaning words.  ie fish, fly, fit, fan, fix, fire, free, 

polysemy - related to "which words are multiple meaning words as intended in the CCSS and when they are just words with more than one meaning"

hypernym - is the category (automobile)

hyponym - are synonymy of types of words associated with that category (sedan, SUV, coop, van, etc)

synonyms - meaning something like the same thing

antonyms -opposites

capitonyms - sound and spelling the same but different meanings, one of which is a proper nounhomophones/ homonyms - sound alike words:  no, know, ate, eight, sight, site

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Robert Marzano, “Building Background Knowledge”

Robert Marzano, “Building Background Knowledge”
  • An outline of points relevant to VSC Vocab’s Challenges by John

  1. Background knowledge sets the stage for more learning.
    1. Academic background knowledge is most relevant to academic learning
    2. We acquire background knowledge thru:
      1. Our ability to process & store info
      2. The number & frequency of our academic experiences
    3. Poverty, ethnicity, and impact of schools
    4. Direct & indirect academic learning experiences
  2. An Indirect Approach…For the relationship between vocabulary and background knowledge
    1. Stored in Bimodal (linguistic & nonlinguistic) Packets (nature of memory connections & imagery),
    2. Process of storing experiences in permanent memory can be enhanced. Analysis of relationships of working permanent, and sensory memory
    3. Background knowledge is multidimensional and its value is contextual...ED Hirsch’s 1987 claim that “cultural literacy requires knowledge of common background, a common core of knowledge.” Identified 4,546 terms and phrases required to operate..
    4. Even surface level background knowledge is useful
    5. Background knowledge manifests as Vocabulary Knowledge
    6. Words are...tags or labels for packets of knowledge (p33). Drum and Knopak. Each word is not an object, it’s a label for a class or knowledge packets
    7. Virtual experiences are educational: they build background knowledge. Analysis of reading, language interaction and educ’l TV as virtual experience
    8. Summary of recommendation: 1. Install knowledge into permanent memory by 2. Having multiple exposures to target info. 3 Focus on accurate surface level info in broad areas 4 with linguistic and non-linguistic aspects with 5 labels for packets of experiential knowledge (ie direct vocab instruction), and 6 rely on virtual experiences of reading, language interaction, and ed’l visual media
  3. The power of Wide Reading & Language Experiences...A Five-Step approach to using SSR (sustained silent reading) to enhance academic background
  4. Building academic background knowledge thru Direct Vocabulary Instruction
    1. Case against:  Size paradox: Why teach 300 directly when 2-3K is goal? Why not read a lot and hope statistics work out?
    2. Case for:
      1. Estimates of Vocab vary dramatically;
        1. 1st grade: 2.7K-26K
        2. 3rd grade: 2K - 25K
        3. 7th grade: 4.7K - 51K
      2. Wide reading for vocab-building is no longer really believed….analysis…
      3. Direct Vocabulary Instruction Works -Stahl & Fairbanks: Direct Vocab instruction amplifies learning trend
    3. Characteristics of Effective Direct Instruction
      1. Descriptions, not definitions. Effective vocabulary instruction does NOT rely on definitions
      2. Knowledge of words must be both linguistic and non linguistic
        1. Long term memory tagging requires both words and images…
      3. Process: Gradual shaping of word meanings through multiple exposures
        1. First contact, repeated exposure, different uses, and types of interaction
        2. Comparing, contrasting, & classifying words, similiarities and differences, really important (Should VSC create logic maps of words? Borrow anything from wordnet)? Metaphors and analogies are high level word processing processes..
      4. Word Parts help particularly pattern recognition skills…
      5. Different types of words learned differently
        1. Nouns v Verbs, concrete nouns v abstract nouns
        2. Large analysis of words by category and semantic features
      6. Students should discuss terms that they are learning
      7. Students should play with words..Logology: Word and language play
      8. Focus on critical vocab.
        1. Beck: 3 tiers with direct instruction focused on tier 2: Marzano disputes that word frequency  defines words’ significance, feels that words critical to academics should be identified
  5. Six Steps to Effective Vocabulary Instruction. Should have vocabulary journal for them.
    1. Teachers provide a description, explanation, or example
      1. Example: “Discovery” Discuss examples of discoveries. Make them vivid. Categorize them as man-made events.
      2. Ex: Deductive reasoning: Take students through a process of deductive reasoning.  
    2. Have students explain term
    3. Have students create a nonlinguistic representation of the term:
      1. Graphics organizer, picture, pictogram
      2. Would a word web or word relationships help here?
    4. Periodically reuse terms, in a separate week, not just in context but as part of higher order thinking: comparing, classifying, figurative language,
    5. Have students discuss terms
    6. Have students play games with terms.
  6. Defining an Academic Vocabulary. High frequency is NOT worthwhile for direct instruction.
    1. Standard setting has since Reagans’ call to focus on education, critical!
      1. McREL 2000: Content Compendium (Kendall & Marzano)
      2. CBE 1998: Standards for Excellence in Education
    2. These standards carry vocabulary implications?
      1. ED Hirsch in 1987, 4,546 facts required to be culturally literate
      2. Marzano built his own academic vocabulary lists from McRel & CBE std compendiums
        1. 782 terms, K-2nd: Across all subjects - p115
        2. 2398 terms, 3rd-5th: this is the band with largest volume of terms
  7. Setting up a program for schools or districts
    1. Reasonable goals: focus on key subjects
    2. Pick essential terms
  8. Appendix: terms by subjects…

Monday, April 11, 2016

Elementary Education: Meaningful Vocabulary Instruction

Here's some key  points on Meaningful Vocabulary Instruction for elementary students.

  1. Vocabulary is destiny. Kids with stronger vocabularies learn faster. Kids with weak vocabularies have trouble mastering new lessons. Vocabulary is destiny.  
  2. Build your vocabulary, change your destiny.   
  3. Direct instruction in vocabulary, done right, works!
  4. Done right?
    1. Pick meaningful significant words. The most important words are those that are tags for important academic concepts. First learn the concepts, then be sure to master and retain the name for them.
    2. Retention requires multimodal learning. Not just the meaning, properly explored and nuanced (and certainly not the definition) but also the phonics and make-up of the word. This builds retention.
    3. Multiple encounters with the word. Ten is good, fifteen is better. Read it, hear it, say it, write it, play it.  And again. Three times through the set.
    4. NOT all at once. While a one-week cycle is adequate for introducing a word, a three week cycle is required for long term retention.
Sources (full bibliography to follow) :

Points 1 & 2.  Johnson O'Conner conducted research that  A person’s vocabulary level was the best single measure for predicting occupational success in every area. Furthermore, vocabulary is not innate, and can be acquired by everybody. 

Point 3  Lots of research to back this up.  This report from National Reading Technical Assistance Center summaries it.