Strategy

Vocabulary Journal

Vocabulary Notebook

UDL 2.1

A Vocabulary Journal is an ongoing personal collection of key vocabulary terms that can be pre-taught by the teacher or self-selected by the student. In addition to recording the word and definition, vocabulary journals also ask the student to enter additional information such as an illustration, example of use, and synonyms/antonyms to deepen their understanding of the word as well an ensure that the student will use the word in their speaking and writing. Vocabulary Journals are extremely flexible and can be used effectively across grade levels and subject areas since students encounter both high-frequency vocabulary (e.g. "Tier 2" words) and content-specific vocabulary (e.g. "Tier 3" words) throughout the school day. Using a Vocabulary Journal can also increase the engagement and motivation that students have in mastering vocabulary since the information is personally entered by the student and can be used as their own personal reference both inside and outside of the classroom.

Ready-to-Use Resources

Planning Guide

Academic Vocabulary Teacher Planning Template

This simple 1-page planning template can be used by teachers to determine which academic vocabulary words to focus on for direct instruction. The planning template incorporates research-based vocabulary selection guidelines (Kinsella and Feldman, 2005) so that direct instruction is focused on the most high-value academic vocabulary (i.e. Tier 2 Academic Vocabulary). .

Grade K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 · English Language Arts, Reading, Language · 3 pages


Graphic Organizer

Reading Vocabulary Journal

Two vocabulary journal templates are included. The first template has space for multiple words per page as well as the definition, illustration, and related examples or additional notes. The second template allows students to go in-depth for a single, key vocabulary word.

Grade 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 · English Language Arts, Reading, Writing, Language · 2 pages


Vocabulary

Math Vocabulary Journal

Vocabulary and language is an essential part of math instruction. Two vocabulary journal templates are included. The first template has space for multiple words per page as well as the definition, illustration, and related examples or additional notes. The second template allows students to go in-depth for a single key concept.

Grade 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 · Math · 2 pages


Implementation Tips

Priority Words
[[ http://teacher.scholastic.com/products/authors/pdfs/Narrowing_the_Gap.pdf | Feldman and Kinsella ]] (2005) recommend words that capture a big idea or concept (e.g. "democracy") or are high-frequency and have multiple meanings (e.g. "impact", "subsequent" or "consequences"). Download their vocabulary word selection guidelines [[ https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B46devG_2h51UjUyVWxDT2VMQTQ/edit?usp=sharing | here ]].
Student Ownership
Require students to not only enter teacher-selected words but also to enter self-selected words that they have encountered in their own reading or have heard from peers or in media. This further engages the students in personalizing their journal and gets them more invested in its contents.
Teacher Prompts
Ensure that students have plenty of opportunity to use their vocabulary journals as a reference. For example, prompt students to use their vocabulary journal when writing extended pieces or in extended peer group discussions.
Journals
Vocabulary journals do not have to be pre-formatted or specially purchased. Regular notebooks can be used and students can be taught to draw/diagram the structure of a new entry (e.g. [[ https://goalbookapp.com/toolkit/strategy/frayer-model | Frayer Model ]]).

Examples

ELL
Vocabulary journals can be enhanced with cognates from the student's native language (e.g. Spanish: "Curious" -> "Curioso"). Vocabulary journals themselves have been shown to be a research-based strategy for English Language Learners as part of a comprehensive model for academic vocabulary development.
Math
Vocabulary and language is an essential part of math instruction especially with the Common Core's focus on students solving "real-world" problems often stated as word/story problems. Students can also include a sample problem with solution that relates to the vocabulary (e.g. including a problem on identifying whether two triangles are "similar" or using the mathematical symbols of comparison for the word, "compare").
Social Studies
Rather than focusing on specific historical terms (e.g. "Patriot", "Loyalist" or "Stamp Act") for the vocabulary journal, teachers can focus on academic vocabulary that is high-frequency and high-utility such as "policy", "economic" or "democratic."

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