[John Berg] Welcome to Get into the Act I’m your Host John Berg with the Sacramento County Office of Education Get into the Act is a series of video presentations brought to you by the California Department of Education’s Middle and High School Improvement Office Renowned educators, who are passionate about student learning and achievement, will share research-based strategies to help middle grades teachers ensure success and close the achievement gap for their students Each presentation focuses on one or more of the 12 Taking Center Stage-Act II recommendations Dr. Kate Kinsella is currently an adjunct faculty member in secondary education at San Francisco State University and provides consultancy nationally to school districts regarding instruction of adolescent English learners As a teacher/educator she has maintained active involvement in four through twelve classrooms by regularly coaching and co-teaching while also teaching academic literacy skills to high school English learners in San Francisco State University’s Step to College Program [Kate Kinsella] Hello. Welcome to Get into the Act I’m Kate Kinsella and this is the second in a four-part series Designed to help you more fully implement some of the most critical recommendations in Taking Center Stage Act II Today we’re going to explore a critical topic Explicit and engaged vocabulary instruction in middle grades classrooms And in fact, across the middle school curricula In this session, we’re going to be examining three critical recommendation areas in the Taking Center Stage, Act II recommendations And the first you’ll find in chapter 1 focusing on rigor We’re going to see how critical it is for us to have instruction, assessment, and intervention techniques to support students is accessing rigorous curricula And part of that is explicit, intentional and informed vocabulary instruction We’re going to see how critical it is too, to have relevance Chapter four addresses in detail the engaging and important rule of relevance for middle school youths So I hope that it becomes vividly apparent to you as you see me modeling As I cover key points and as we examine video footage in middle grades classrooms How preparing rigorous vocabulary instruction will support them in having full access to critical content standards and how important it’s going to be to make sure that they go away with relevant examples that enable them to develop a little vocabulary Velcro So, let’s look at our objectives My first is, that this session enables you to as colleagues to reflect on current teaching practices to engage all learners in explicit vocabulary instruction Every subject area, from physical education to science has critical terminology that can prevent students from accessing your curricula So we’re going to be looking at a research-informed instructional approach that makes sense across the subject areas to bolster student’s expressive word knowledge I’m going to be detailing what I mean by expressive word knowledge but in a nutshell it means their ability to use a word confidently and competently I hope at the end of this process that you understand the key steps in explicitly teaching a word And that you understand the absolutely pivotal roll of vocabulary both in literacy and learning across the middle grades curricula Let’s first look at the axiomatic roll of vocabulary knowledge in literacy and learning in secondary curricula There cannot be a more quantum leap in terms of curricular demands than from elementary schooling to the middle grades And often in my work in sixth grades classrooms I find students think they’ve landed in the hands of Cruella Da Ville When they have a science teacher or language arts teacher who actually expects them to read the science chapter Or really read the core novel And part of what really prevents them from really reading that with competence and confidence Is the detailed vocabulary the comprehensive vocabulary that isn’t part of their oral language So we know that vocabulary knowledge there is a strong reciprocal and relationship between how much vocabulary a youth knows And how well that youth will do with reading and with learning And in fact, as a scholar in the area of English learners Vocabulary is the strongest and most reliable predictor of academic achievement for an English learner in upper elementary and secondary school that we have to date
So it is going to be really incumbent upon all of us to tackle vocabulary together with consistent, research-informed approaches Now let’s look at what they are and what they’re not We know scholars agree in the vocabulary arena on four key things that must happen in the middle grades for students to really bolster their vocabulary First they need to engage in fluent wide reading with greater emphasis in nonfiction What do I mean by fluent reading? That means they can read with ease and dexterity That they’re not stumbling and starting That they’re relatively familiar with most of the vocabulary And that then read widely not narrowly. That they’re really reading their science curricula Not just doing hands-on science experiments. That they’re actually reading their social studies curricula not just doing activities that enable them to fill in a graphic organizer They have to read widely to get exposure to many new words But although reading widely across the subject areas is the main way a youth can really bolster their recognition of many words It isn’t the most reliable way for them to develop a confident command to use words effectively in speaking and writing We know that in order for students to use a word effectively in either speaking or writing They need to have explicit scaffolded instruction Either from a parent or guardian, a teacher a counselor or a sibling But someone needs to take the time to explain to them that word and to give relevant examples In middle school, because many students come in with real voids in their lexical knowledge We really need to be spending our time on explicit instruction of high leverage words And what I mean by high leverage words, are words that are portable Words they can take with them across the subject areas And to the other contexts, the social and later the professional context of their lives A third aspect of vocabulary development across the middle grades that is critical Is actually developing student’s word knowledge and study strategies And what I mean by word knowledge is helping them learn how words work I’ve work with ninth graders, twelfth graders that have no concept of what a prefix or suffix And if they don’t understand what a prefix is, they don’t understand what’s happening to a word when it changes from the teacher saying “read the article”, to “preread the article”, to “reread the article and don’t misread or pseudoread the article” because we’re going to have a postreading test Really having word knowledge and knowing how words work is critical to navigate middle school curricula But what we know too is that it can’t just be meaningful explanations and examples We need to have carefully orchestrated opportunities for students to use newly taught words And if they don’t use them and have scaffolded practice in the classroom The likelihood of them using those independently in their own social or academic interactions or writing is pretty negligible So as a teacher working in mixed-ability classrooms I know it’s my responsibility to not only teach very carefully targeted high priority words But to make sure they leave my classroom better equipped to use them So let’s get back to the difference between expressive knowledge and a recognition of vocabulary I want to clarify two terms that are important in vocabulary development Because they have a decided impact on how much instructional time and primacy we devote to teaching a word First, when we talk about receptive word knowledge or vocabulary we’re referring typically to how many words students recognize And it is far greater than their expressive vocabulary, the words they can actually use It includes words we recognize when we hear them or encounter them in reading But it also includes many words for which we only have partial knowledge A word may be a multiple meaning word or a word they we have only partially understood in only one context So students come in with a lot of gaps in their vocabulary knowledge and also wide exposure But on a daily basis I need to ramp up their exposure to many words through my own vocabulary usage and words I expose them to in reading and speaking or other activities But I also need to make some calculated decisions about what words are critical for them to add to their academic toolkit Words that they need to be able to use effortlessly and reliably in speaking and writing And these words are part of their expressive word knowledge Expressive vocabulary, which is often referred to as productive vocabulary, Includes words we can use comfortably and capably I work with a lot of students who use words confidently but incapably They’re sort of in a lexical limbo They know them but no one took the time to show them how you actually use the word ‘accurate’ in a sentence So they may have learned that ‘accurate’ means the information must be precise
The measurements must be correct. They know that it means that but then they write independently sentences like, “Dr. Kate accurate my paper today. She fixed the verbs.” So we’re going to be looking at developing their expressive vocabulary means that we tackle helping them understand not only the meaning, but how do I use this word appropriately in syntax and grammar And for middle school students, more so in the early elementary grades Expressive vocabulary means have we equipped them to be able to write the word effectively and to use it in a written sentence as well as in their speaking In this session, I’m going to be focusing on how to develop expressive word knowledge Before we look at an explicit research-informed routine that would make sense in your middle school Let’s look at some common practices that don’t reliably foster expressive word knowledge The first is, arriving to class, what I call, preparation-free and asking as you encounter a word at point of encounter in the reading or in your cornel notes lecture Asking,”oh by the way, does anybody know what accurate means?” Looking furtively out a bunch of middle school students who immediately dodge eye contact Or stare at the few professional participants in the classroom You know, that is really unreliable and to middle school students does convey that you’re busted You arrive to class, not really preparing to teach them And it also imparts to them that this isn’t very important if you’re relying on them for the information chronically Another unreliable strategy is constantly asking students to guess from the context what it means In reading material, most instructional material in middle grades is above their comfort level It’s either at the challenge level or nearly impossible level for many students The research on context shows that only about five to fifteen percent of the time is the context rich enough for students to be able to reliably extract meaning Now that’s with students with average reading skills and oral skills If you have students who are fragile vulnerable English users or readers The odds are almost nil that they’re going to guess from a demanding context what a word means So the first thing that I suggest is not even use the word guess in your vocabulary teaching lexicon to say analyze if you’re going to go in a tackle And it should never be a primary or sole strategy. It should be a strategy as part of a repertoire And it needs to followed with really confirming in the dictionary that that meaning is accurate Another unreliable strategy is asking students to look up words that you haven’t previously addressed Looking up words in the dictionary and then often the sort of evil stepsister, Applying them in original sentences As someone who works consistently with publishers to try to improve their dictionaries I know that lexicographers, the individuals who write dictionaries, usually are not concerned about how to explain the word accurate to an underprepared sixth grader Their concern is conservation of page real estate And what they’re preoccupied with is how precise and how concise can this definition be? So it won’t take up a lot of room on the page In the truncated dictionary that middle schools youths often have in their backpack the small desk dictionaries There are rarely example sentences The definition for the word ‘categorize’ would say, “To place in categories” It would use another form of the word or supply a synonym like classify an equally demanding word So what happens with a youth like my young friend Consuelo that I introduced in the first session Who as an English learner, what often happens is that the just put down that dictionary and give up And hope against hope that the teacher will explain it the next day Another unreliable source of developing confident and competent word knowledge and expressive use Is giving a bunch of independent activities that aren’t proceeded by robust instruction So for example, sort of what I think of as bad substitute teacher activities, giving crossword puzzles, dictionary matching activities, and word sorts When the words weren’t previously taught A crossword puzzle doesn’t teach a word, it’s essentially just a matching exercise with definitions and if a student doesn’t understand them that leads them down sort of a dark path So crossword puzzles are examples, and word sorts are examples of activities but not instruction I think in the middle grades there’s often an endemic confusion about vocabulary instruction And I see often more activities than actual instruction Let’s look at some of the features of instruction It involves the teacher, and it’s planned not on the fly and it’s directed It’s also very explicit including clear explanations Now how does an explanation differ from a definition?
Explanations are in familiar language, drawing on synonyms and not precise and concise like the definition for ‘categorize’ be to place in categories It also involves guided use with a the teacher modeling how to use it And structuring student’s active and competent ability to use it Going from I do it to we do it to now you do it And if anything if you do have application tasks that are creative or engaging like crossword puzzles or any other type of writing task That at least instruction has preceded them Now if we contrast that. With what is often unreliable set of strategies Activities, students are typically doing it on their own And, if they are doing it collaboratively I finding it’s often the blind leading the blind using the dictionary together That often they’re looking up definitions not explanations and there’s very little guidance or feedback And asking them to do written sentences before they’ve even had some mediated opportunities to use it in speaking So the research base is solid that if we want to develop student’s confidence expressive word knowledge their ability to use it effectively We’ve got to have conscientious planning really analyzing and prioritizing words And using a consistent and research informed process Not what I call a chameleon process where every day what you’re doing something differs with vocabulary When you have mixed ability students in your classroom, they need to know exactly what you’re going to do when you teach a word And not subject them to a random array of activities over the course of the semester So along with other vocabulary scholars I maintain that we can facilitate student’s learning of critical new words by delivering really rich and targeted instruction with consistent, and I would add recognizable practices so students can go into automatic pilot and devote one hundred percent of their intellectual capitol learning and not adjusting to what it is you appear to be doing So lets take a look at an explicit routine I’m going to model teaching a word and also we’ll look at a clip There are four critical stages in teaching an important new word And the first is to get students to read and pronounce the word We next have to have to make sure we explain not to find the word We also need to make sure we work hard at deepening their understand and coaching their use Now, to help you get a flavor for what I mean by this I’d like you take a look a your slide I have a note-taking scaffold for you, a note-taking guide And you’ll notice there are some blanks As I teach the word, I’m going to be asking you to do a number of things verbally and nonverbally to respond to my teaching So I’m going to ask you to sit up, dendrites quivering with anticipation, pick up a pen and get ready to learn an important new word My goal is to accessorize your lexicon here Here we go: Our target word today is one of my favorites And the word is apotheosis, apotheosis. Let’s tap it out and say it slowly in parts first me first A-po-the-o-sis (tapping in the background) Everyone, A-po-the-o-sis (tapping in the background) One more time A-po-the-o-sis (tapping in the background) Now quickly, me first A-po-the-o-sis. Everyone, [audience] A-po-the-o-sis Now just individuals, A-po-the-o-sis, [audience member] A-po-the-o-sis, A-po-the-o-sis [audience member] A-po-the-o-sis What’s our smart word? A-po-the-o-sis You’ve got it. Now that you can say it, I’d like you to write it on this line Write it in so we all have a sense of what that word looks like Please copy it Now that you’ve written it, let’s check out the meaning In the second column, I’d like you to fill in the words that I left out as I clarify exactly what apotheosis means First of all I want to point out that apotheosis is a thing, it’s a noun And Let’s look at what this thing is When you talk about something that is the apotheosis it is the best and most perfect example of something So if you have friends in town, and they say, “Oh, we’re dying for an excellent pizza!” “Where we’ve been on a road trip, we’ve been camping a lot and we’re dying to have an excellent pizza!” Where would you say is the best pizza in town? And after you argue amongst family members, you might say, “Well you know, we all concur that the best and most perfect example of a pizza in this town is Gino’s because of the fresh ingredients that they use The crispy crust, the fact that it’s cooked on an open-wood fire We all agree that Gino’s is not just the best it’s the,what everyone? Apotheosis And, as you listen to that theos, I want to share with you that the origin of this word comes from Greek Theos, meaning the height so if you say something is the apotheosis it means ‘the top’ It’s the highest you can go Let’s look at a couple more examples
The first time I encountered the word apotheosis was in a newspaper review of new fall TV shows And I don’t usually learn a lot of new vocabulary, from things like the TV guide But this was a newspaper article reviewing the fall line up of TV shows And the statement was, once again in the fall line up we have a veritable glut of forensic TV shows Ranging from old familiar faces like CSI Miami, Crossing Jordan, to new shows like Bones And they said because there are so many we thought we’d interview some key forensic specialists in Los Angeles to ask the real doctors What do you view as the best show? And they said that after interviewing the forensic doctors they concurred That out of all of the forensic shows on television, The original CSI Los Vegas was the apotheosis, why? Because of the wide array of equipment that they used on the show The authenticity that they used the equipment and in particular because of the lead scientist, Gil Grissom, who to them seemed like A real nurdy serious scientist rather than a sexy Hollywood actor So because of all of these characteristics, they felt that that show was the best and the what? The apotheosis Now, in my work I get to travel and see many places in the United States And I’m very blessed in that regard And when I stay in a place for a while I like to see interesting and quirky locations But I also love to go out on walks and see scenic locations So when people come to my home town, San Francisco I always tell people that you have to see many beautiful sights But amongst all of the scenic locations in San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge is the apotheosis I’d like you all to think right now. In the town where you live or the city where you live What is one place that you consider a scenic location? And in just a moment you’re going to share with your partner All right, I’m going to stop right here But as you can see, I took a great deal of time to make sure that you could read that word, pronounce that word, write that word, I gave you several portals to comprehension Not on drive-by definition. I gave several examples And my goal being that every learner would have some example that would click One sort of, type of vocabulary Velcro That the next time that youths encounter the word apotheosis they can have that trigger word That word that will come back to them And I was carefully orchestrating in the task on scenic locations your use of the word And with students, I follow up with a homework writing task And if you see with this task out of the newest media sources for world news blank is the blank because, Because what we often do is short circuit the process by saying the word, giving them the definition and then telling them Maybe if their lucky, giving them one example and telling them to write an original sentence So the students have at best a tenuous grasp on the meaning and now they’re supposed to put it in an original sentence Because I work with struggling readers sitting side-by-side with very proficient readers with an inflated sense, I might add, of their lexical prowess I want to make sure that I’ve given them one carefully sculpted opportunity to use the word correctly Before I unleash them to use the word in an original sentence Now we’re going to take a look at a video clip and in this clip you’re going to see me actually teaching a group of sixth grade students With English learners and striving readers in the classroom in a very challenging unit on child labor So the word we’ll be tackling is one of the key concepts the central terms international since the focus is on child labor practices around the world And as you watch this, I want you to watch I’m engaging the students both verbally and nonverbally as I just did with you in this instructional process The first thing we’re going to look at is my explicit instruction and then we’re going to watch me carefully calibrating their us of that word with structure response frames Here we go We’re going to look at another word that Miss Mendoza introduced in your R Book Builder And you looked a the word international which is a describing word, an adjective And we’re going to explore that meeting in a little more depth And look at the adverb form, this kind of word that describes or modifies a verb And tells us more about the action So first, let’s revisit the word international Everyone, international. One more time, international And my cognate partner Yami. Yami, could you remind us what the Spanish cognate is? Internacional Beautiful, one more time Internacional Beautiful so our Spanish cognate internacional you can hear the similarity because both of these words have a Latin origin
And they have the same meaning And I’ll remind you that international means that it’s relating or something to do with two or more countries Please write in the word countries So if you’re,if we’re studying about a serious problem like global warming And it’s a problem in Mexico and a problem in the United States and a problem in Canada We could say that’s an international problem And in this workshop, if we look at this example here. We’ve learned that child labor is an international problem It’s not just a problem in one country It’s a problem in several countries And we saw it was a problem in the US, in Pakistan and in many other countries So it’s a problem that is what everyone? International. Beautiful Now that I’ve had the opportunity to engage you in the process of learning a word with me And having you view a sixth grade classroom with me in action with young learners I’d like to call out some of the things that I did very explicitly to help students comprehend and have access to that word Before I orchestrated their use of that word And the first step in this process is to get them to read and pronounce the word Often I’m observing in middle grades classrooms and the teacher’s explaining the word and students eyes are following the teacher rather than actually looking at the word Students must look a he word as they’re learning the word. Otherwise they can’t get an auditory and visual imprint of that word So direct student’s attention to the written word make sure they’re looking at it and I have no qualms about saying point to the word So I know that all thirty students in my class are seeing the word as I say it So they have a strong verbal and auditory imprint and to support their decoding of that word I want to guide them in pronouncing that word after I’ve pronounced it a few times And the needier my students or the more underprepared with language I’m going to make sure I’ve pronounced it a few times knowing that the last proficiency to develop for academic or professional purposes in a second language or dialect, is listening So I may be saying lexicon but they’re hearing ex con So I want to make sure that I’m pronouncing that word very clearly and several times as say it several times as they look at it I want to also guide them in pronouncing it and if my students are more proficient I might just have them say it a couple of times and engage them in saying it a few more times during the process But with students who are English learners or have language issues I want to make sure they’ve pronounced it a few times with me before we start getting into meaning You’ll also notice that I broke that longer polysyllabic word apotheosis into syllables Because that is very difficult for struggling readers to tackle a long word like that that is unlike anything they’ve ever said in oral language So breaking it into parts minimally so they can see the syllables on the board or your visual And then to either have them tap it out or even hum it or tap it on the table or clap their hands so they’re really getting that tactile kinesthetic interaction After you’re sure that students can pronounce the word, we want to make sure we explain, and I want to remind you that, explain means familiar language complemented with examples And my experience is that often teachers go off on bird walks and spend so much time explaining the word that they’ve lost the students The explanation should be clear accessible and efficient And I would say the time where you should spend more time would be with your examples As we move to the next stage, deepening understanding it’s helpful if you can provide a quick visual representation But I’m the first to admit that I am so underequipped in the visual art department For me to draw out a quick sketch would take a Herculean if not Sisyphean intervention But often those of you teaching history or science or math have a visual right there you can point to But when I’m teaching abstract concepts like international There isn’t something really convenient to point to that helps them access that So what I can provide instead are some meaningful showing examples and sentences that help that word attach What’s important is not a literal visual in front of them but that they have a mental model going on in their mind something that they can remember And a vibrant showing example that you can provide connected to their lives and interests. Something familiar Is going to create that lexical Velcro the word I use with kids I’m working hard so that you can have a little vocabulary Velcro We’re going to see right now my work at getting students to actually use this word now that I’ve explained it to get them to use this word in a meaningful sentence
And again because there are students here with a range of language proficiency and a range of language confidence I’m carefully, carefully scaffolding with a sentence frame and a word bank notice, to enable them to with confidence and competence to use this word with their partner and subsequently in a unified class discussion Let’s take a look of me back in with the same sixth grade class Let’s look at one other example of international together Getting away from the serious topic of child labor. Let’s look at a fun topic There are many international stars Music stars, film stars, TV stars, sports athletes, athletic stars And many of them are international. People appreciate them in many countries So I could say, for example that one international basketball star is Yao Ming Does anybody know who Yao Ming is? Yao Ming. What’s his back,where’s he from? Where’s,he’s from China, right and he’s a fabulous basketball player And he is a star in the United States [student] He’s deaf Is he deaf? [student] yes because he has this guy like talking for him No he, [female student] He’s Chinese He’s not deaf but he has a translator. He can hear but he has a translator to help him. His English has improved a lot but he’s an international star He’s loved in China, in Europe, the United States so because he plays basketball in many countries, And he has fans in many countries, we could say, “He’s not just a national star in China, he’s what kind of star?” International. International I’d like you to think of another star. Maybe a movie star Someone who’s in movies in the US and in Mexico or somewhere else Or maybe a music star. Someone who can sell out a concert here. But also in Mexico or other countries Think carefully. Maybe it’s a baseball or basketball star Let’s begin with our number ones. Number ones share your example of an international star with your partner [student] One international TV star is Hanna Montana One international movie star is Eddie Murphy One international Soccer player star is Renaldo One international movie star is Governor Swartzenager One international music start is Carlos Santana I hope you noticed how confidently and efficiently every student in that class turned to a partner and used the response frame to share a meaningful example with their partner Because I knew I had some fragile and apprehensive students in the class As well as some professional participants who were willing to respond for everyone at any and every occasion I wanted every student to have time to collect his or her thoughts And to give them a response frame that also included a word bank And calling out for them different examples of international stars they might think of so they had a variety of concepts they might explore Rather than providing them with just one idea And also guiding them in the syntax and grammar for using that correctly in a sentence And every student came up with an example including even our reference to Governor Swartzenager as an international movie star So I structured the brief oral task and later in the lesson gave them a follow up homework assignment with the three new words we learned that day That we introduced that day. Each of those had a structured writing task. Much as the one I assigned to you with the word apotheosis That didn’t just say, put it in an original sentence, but really framed for them when to use it and gave them the opportunity to provide the content So as a closing comments. I hope that it’s clear through my points that I’ve made as well as the video footage That equipping middle grades students with the confidence and the competence To use words in their speaking and writing across the curricula and in their everyday lives Has to be instruction that is intentional That is structured and consistent. That is recognizable, not a chameleon pedagogy and it’s very scaffolded that always goes from the teacher modeling to getting the class to work together to independent practice And that it’s multi-modal Students are actively involved kinesthetically, auditorially, verbally They’re really involved at every sensory level and it’s personalized So that they leave that lesson with a mental model Something to help them immediately access that word So even if they overhear the word apotheosis on the news They may not immediately recollect the definition but they will recollect the example that stuck with them
In my next session I’m going to be continuing with the topic of structured, accountable, academic discussion And as you saw me do with this vocabulary instruction, structuring their oral language You’re going to see structured oral language across a range of activities I hope you got some practical strategies and as colleagues you get together right away to problematize together How can we as colleagues across the curricula use some consistent practices to make sure that students are using vocabulary not just us in the classroom Thank you very much for your time [Berg] You’ve just seen Dr. Kate Kinsella discuss how to teach explicit vocabulary To find more information and additional resources on this and related topics Go to pubs.cde.ca.gov/TCSII