Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Vocabulary and Testing

As the annual testing season gets underway, I’d like to emphasize the importance of vocabulary.  Increasing students' knowledge of the meanings of common and specialized vocabulary words across the curriculum increases their chances of being successful on these annual standardized tests.

The importance of vocabulary, especially in testing season
Wordle created by The ESL Nexus

Judie Haynes, a long-time and well-known ELL educator, offers four ways to scaffold vocabulary for ELLs in a recent blog post:
    * By activating schema
    * By explicitly teaching new academic vocabulary words
    * By using graphic organizers
    * By using sentence frames
Here’s the link to the complete article, which very clearly explains the rationale for using each strategy: "4 Strategies for Scaffolding Instruction for Els".

If you are wondering which academic words are most useful for ELLs to know, you might be interested in one of my products--lists of the most important content vocabulary words by grade and by subject, as determined by a group of middle school teachers:
The importance of vocabulary, especially in testing season
Click HERE for more info; source: The ESL Nexus
And if you are looking for sentence frames to help students who are writing summaries of texts, you might be interested in the product below.  It not only includes sentence frames but also information on how to write summaries, which even if that's not included on the PARCC or Smarter Balanced tests, certainly is something that is part of the ELA Common Core State Standards:
The importance of vocabulary, especially in testing season
Click HERE for more info; source: The ESL Nexus
All students, not just ELLs, will benefit from vocabulary instruction that incorporates the four strategies explained in Judie Haynes' blog post.  Good luck to everyone administering or taking these annual assessments!
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