Vocabulary: Not just for ELA class
By Robyn Kehoe Ramsey and Megan Motley
No matter the content area, explicit vocabulary instruction is essential for student success. While it is by no means a panacea, strong connections between vocabulary acquisition and literacy, equity, and positive outcomes for students are clear. We must consider that when we test students’ reading comprehension, we may actually be testing their vocabulary and background knowledge and unintentionally preventing them from showing what they really know and can do (Willingham, 2017). Since vocabulary knowledge is directly linked to student success in school, it is well worth considering why and how every teacher should be teaching vocab.
Vocabulary acquisition is directly linked to equity. By first grade, higher socioeconomic groups are likely to know twice as many words as lower socioeconomic groups (Neumann & Wright, 2014), and we all know now that most children are never able to close that gap, negatively impacting their outcomes all the way through high school. “It is now well accepted that the chief cause of the achievement gap between socioeconomic groups is a language gap” (Hirsch, 2003). Therefore, it is incumbent upon us all -- not just upon ELA teachers -- to be intentional about vocabulary instruction.
How NOT to teach vocab:
How to teach vocab:
Which words to teach?
Consider that vocabulary words in any discipline can be divided into three Tiers (not to be confused with the Tiers of MTSS!). Tier 1 words are basic words in common use (“chair,” “phone,” “lion”). Tier 2 words are academic words that students encounter across contents (“analyze,” “evidence,” “theme”). Tier 3 words are content-specific (“metaphor,” “perpendicular,” “renaissance”). Tier 2 and Tier 3 words need to be explicitly taught as they influence students’ ability to understand and learn new content and concepts. Proficiency Scales are an excellent place for teachers to find specific vocabulary on which students should focus and build their knowledge.
“Teaching vocabulary will not guarantee success in reading … However, lacking either adequate word identification skills or adequate vocabulary will ensure failure” (Biemiller, 2005). Because vocabulary knowledge is so clearly linked to reading comprehension, as well as issues of equity for all students, teachers -- ALL teachers -- should consider how they are explicitly teaching the words students need to build a strong foundation for success in every content area.
Want to explore more ways to teach vocab? Check out this resource!
Biemiller, A. (2005). Size and sequence in vocabulary development: Implications for choosing words for primary grade vocabulary instruction. Teaching and learning vocabulary: Bringing research to practice.
Hattie, J. (2018) 252 Influences and Effect Sizes Related to Student achAchievement. Visible Learning. https://visible-learning.org/hattie-ranking-influences-effect-sizes-learning-achievement/
Hirsch, E.D. (2003) Reading Comprehension Requires Knowledge of Words and the World. American Educator. https://www.aft.org/sites/default/files/periodicals/Hirsch.pdf
Moore, D. (n.d.) Why Vocabulary Instruction Matters. Best Practices in Secondary Education. https://ngl.cengage.com/assets/downloads/edge_pro0000000030/am_moore_why_vocab_instr_mtrs.pdf
Neumann, S. and Wright (2014). Teaching Vocabulary in the Early Childhood Classroom. American Educator. https://www.aft.org/periodical/american-educator/summer-2014/magic-words
Willingham, Daniel (2017). The Reading Mind: A Cognitive Approach to Understanding How the Mind Reads.
Nurturing My Own Professional Growth
How does the Acadience Assessment align with Proficiency Scales?
By Lisa Bayer and the READ team
Are we teaching two different things?
These are common questions that many educators ask. Fortunately, we don’t have to teach two different things!! If you use the proficiency scales as a guide you will be preparing your students for the Acadience assessment as well as meeting requirements from the proficiency scales
Want to know how to do this?
.Exciting news! Jeffco has aligned the Acadience assessment with the proficiency scales in grades K-3. The document below will show you how each benchmark assessment (BOY, MOY, and EOY) for the Acadience assessment and where the proficiency scales align.
2020-2021 Crosswalk-Acadience and Proficiency Scale components
As we move into the testing season, here are some additional documents that will help you get started as we move to remote assessment and instruction.
Winter High Priority Information for Acadience Testing
Acadience 2020 Teacher supports
Downloads for Acadience testing
Remote testing guidelines
Curriculum Changes Overview PK-12
If you are looking for a quick overview of the curriculum changes to come in all content areas for the 2020-2021 school year consider checking out this video.
Elementary ELA Curriculum Update
As you may have heard by now the Colorado Academic Standards 2020 (CAS 2020) will be in our Jeffco Curriculum starting the 20-21 school year. You may be wondering what to expect in Elementary ELA.
For Elementary ELA we are excited to share that the largest shift you will see is in “packaging”. The intent and language of the standards have not changed all that much, just the coding.
Example of an Evidence Outcome (EO) with no change:
2010 Colorado Academic Standard 3.2.2.a.i:
2020 Colorado Academic Standard 3.2.2.a.i:
Example of a Grade Level Expectation (GLE) change:
2010 Grade Level Expectation (GLE) 3 Kindergarten:
2020 Grade Level Expectation (GLE) 3 Kindergarten:
Example of an Evidence Outcome(EO) added:
2010 Evidence Outcome (EO)
2020 Evidence Outcome (EO K.2.3.b.vi) has been added
The piece that will be new however is the way in which we are grouping the standards to support the whole package of literacy instead of reading, writing and oral expression.
Let’s talk about what you’ll see in the K-5 Literacy Year-At-A-Glance(YAAG):
You will see Genre Units focused on Informational, Narrative, Research and Opinion. These units are book-ended with a launching unit and an integrated unit. This allows for setting good routines and expectations and an opportunity to reteach and extend before the end of the year. These Genre Units were created in a way that the content builds on prior units. However, they are end of year standards for the purpose of allowing flexibility in their placement or sequence if buildings so chose to.
This is a year long unit in the study of all the essential foundational skills for students to be able to read and write. You will find standards and skills such as Print Concepts, Phonological Awareness, Spelling, Decoding, Analyzing Words, and Fluency, as appropriate for each grade level. We know that these foundational skills and standards are developed throughout the year and are applied in all genres. We also know that many schools have a core resource that they lean into for pacing and sequence. These units are designed to still allow for that flexibility.
Language and Literacy Processes Units
(Writing process, Conventions, Language)
This is a year long unit in the study of the Writing process, Conventions, and Language with an understanding that the standards and skills addressed in this unit are weaved in and out of every unit and other content areas. You will find standards and skills such as Analyzing Language, Generating Sentences, Revision for Audience, Purpose, and Task, Editing and Parts of Speech as appropriate to each grade level.
Changes to Organizing Concepts
You will notice the organizing concepts of each unit have changed. The proficiency scale titles will be the new way the units are organized. This highlights the interconnectedness of the units.
Sample Elementary Literacy YAAG
Here is an example of our Elementary Literacy YAAG where you will see the Foundational Unit, Genre Units, and the Language and Literacy Unit. The possible organizing concepts are listed with their proficiency scale code for clarity.
Your Elementary Literacy TOSA’s are here to support you:
Curriculum & Instruction