#DigiLitSunday: Vocabulary

vocabulary-2-5-17 digilit






Additional DigiLit posts can be found at Margaret Simon’s blog, Reflections on the Teche.  Check them out here!

I have thoroughly enjoyed seeing “feral” posted in a variety of tweets and blogs over the last year.  I know what I thought it meant but before writing this morning, I decided to “see” what a definition really looked like!  Here’s what I found!


What if our students were encouraged to have feral vocabulary experiences?

Would that be too extreme?  

What if students were thinking users of vocabulary?  

That was the premise of a session led by Katy Wischow (@kw625) at the 89th #TCRWP Saturday Reunion that was summarized in this post.  Vocabulary is complicated.  It cannot all be taught through context.  But when do we KNOW that a student really knows a word?

I believe that it’s when a student owns the word and uses it in his/her writing and quietly sit and wait for the teacher response after the word is found. It’s also when the student says, “Ms. M, I tried out “plethora”.  I think it works; please check it out for me!”

I gained an even deeper understanding of vocabulary at #NCTE16 with a presentation by Valerie Geschwind, Shana Frazin, Katy Wischow, and Char Shylock summarized here.

What do you believe about vocabulary instruction?

Does it “WORK” for all students to “study” the same words on a list?

When it comes to Vocabulary, I have more questions than answers.  If I am a “wide reader”, I have exposure to more words.  I can still remember my first exposure to “supercalifragilisticexpealidocious”!  Such a fun word that over shadowed the plot in “Mary Poppins” for days!  And words like “loquacious”, “accolade”, “capricious”, and “ubiquitous” add fun and joy to my life!  None of those words were ever on a vocabulary list for me to memorize or write in a sentence!  (Just sayin’.)

What words do you like to USE?  

How do you collect and use new words?


For those of you who coach others or provide PD, here’s an example of a Vocabulary Hyperdoc created by members of our literacy team for our local coaches designed to help teachers reflect on their vocabulary instruction and assessment practices.   (Content + Technology)


10 responses

  1. Good Morning Fran! I opened your Vocab doc, and downloaded the DOE reading pdf after clicking on the Vocab strategies link, but was unable to open it. I would love to know more about some of those strategies.

    Has your agency set up PD for this summer? I would like to see what is offered.

    Did you hear about Grant Wood? They are having 2 days in June with these speakers: Allington, Shanahan, Rasinski, Justice! I have signed up, but have been put on a waiting list. The word is they are trying to find a bigger venue-no wonder with all those great speakers! I am happy to say I have seen all of them in past events, but would love to hear them again.

    My copy of Heart Maps and DIY Literacy arrived on Friday, so I will be sending yours back to you soon. I also got The Reading Strategies book and hope to open it today. Let me know what other professional books I should order!


    1. Tammy,
      I’m not finding a link that doesn’t open so more help please. There were individual strategies and I checked them but they are open to all.

      We don’t have summer offerings listed yet. Grant Wood and AEA 1 have conferences at the same time.

      Another fabulous reference is Stacey Shubitz’s Craft Moves. You may want to pick up a conferring book – Carl Anderson is one of my faves. He’s revising – How’s It Going? So I would wait for the new one. Serravallo and Goldberg have one together as well.

  2. Wow, Fran, what a great post with tons of resources. You’ve got me looking at hyperdoc hashtags! Would love to use the vocab PD you linked here. I had trouble opening some of the docs too – but haven’t played with them on the computer yet. (Just the phone). Thank you for sharing so much!

    1. Dana,
      Help yourself. Let me know if the links don’t work on your computer. Sometimes it’s a matter of not having the right program to open!

      I love hyperdocs . . . but can’t any document with links be a hyperdoc???

      Hope your February is off to a great start! This school year seems to be flying by!

  3. I was saying on Margaret’s post how I could have written several posts about vocabulary. I think there such a menagerie of ways to incorporate vocabulary in our classroom. Some needs to be in context, some needs front loading before reading a piece of text, some needs to be individualize with independent reading, some to needs to be exploring, some needs to be content and even testing vocabulary. So many great ways to use it and teach it. But as you said, the biggest key is wide reading! Now I am off to read your links.

    1. Leigh Anne,
      I agree wholeheartedly that we need to use multiple ways to approach vocabulary! It’s critical for understanding and cannot be left to chance but it’s also a key area where STUDENTS must be doing the work! I’m not sure how we make that happen, but it’s a great conversation to begin.

  4. Isn’t feral a great word?! Thanks for participating today and sharing your resources and ideas. At first I worried about this topic, but now I’m so glad I used it. I’ve learned so much about vocabulary instruction. Watch out, kids. Next week’s gonna see a change of pace.

    1. Margaret, I just added another comment on your post about how amazing to see how we ALL approached this topic differently! That’s such a great thing – celebrating DIVERSE thinking!!!

      And yes, I LOVE “feral” . . . I wonder what topic will be the focus of my brave and feral concentration next week?

  5. Wow, Fran, thanks for all the resources! Always looking for more knowledge and creative ways to address vocabulary within instruction. The hyperdoc is amazing!

    1. You are totally welcome, Lanny. It was a collaborative effort. Our goal was to have “some” common information for everyone and then let folks choose: improve instruction, assessment or instruction and assessment! Playing with ways to provide more “choice” in PD! ❤

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