This week, I held a presentation at the Elementary School faculty meeting about Vocabulary Instruction in Grade 4. Our school is currently focusing on improvement of language scaffolding strategies in classes across all grade levels. We look into ways to standardize vocabulary instruction by introducing different vocabulary activities that increase conceptual understanding of the units of inquiry by all students, including English Language Learners.
My presentation focused on the vocabulary of Units of Inquiry in Grade 4 that cover the following topics: Media Literacy, Child Rights, Migration and Scientific Process. In grade 4, students are required to learn a lot of abstract words that belong in the Tier 3 category (WIDA Standards – World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment). Some of the examples are: refugee, segregation, bias, compassion. In the presentation, I stressed the importance of having a portfolio of vocabulary terms for each unit that doesn’t only include a list of words but also contains visuals, definitions and sentence examples which help students understand the meanings of the words. In addition, I introduced vocabulary strategies that are common in Grade 4 like Word Wall, Windowpane, Vocabulary Harvesters etc. Finally, I showed a Grade 4 group activity that requires students to create a short skit that represents a word assigned by the teacher. You can find a more detailed description of the activity as well as the other parts of the presentation in the following slideshow: