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Inside Words By: Janet Allen

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Liz Joyce

on 6 July 2013

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Transcript of Inside Words By: Janet Allen

About the Author
Dr. Allen taught High-School Reading and English for 20 years.
She then taught at The University of Central Florida where she taught Education courses in reading and literacy.
She has received many educator awards as well as published many books, articles, and chapters in texts.
Dr. Allen spends time researching and conducting literacy workshops across the country.
About the Book
More Books by Janet Allen
More Tools for Teaching Content Literacy
Instructional Strategies:
Inside Words By: Janet Allen
Reading History: A Practical Guide to Improving Literacy
Yellow Brick Roads: Shared and Guided Paths to Independent Reading
Instructional Strategy: Provides Support During Reading and Writing

Janet Allen focuses on vocabulary instructional strategies from 5 different categories:
Building Background Knowledge
Words that are Critical to Comprehension
Provides support during reading and writing
Develops conceptual framework
Assess students understanding
"Inside Words combines current research on effective vocabulary instruction with effective instructional strategies."
Instructional Strategy:
Develops Conceptual Framework for themes, topics, units of study
Concept Ladder
Concepts and Vocabulary:
Categories and Labels
Building Background Knowledge
Focused Cloze
Frayer Model
Instructional Strategy:
Teaches Words That Are Critical to Comprehension
Semantic Feature Analysis
Concept Circles
Frequent Contact
Possible Questions
Possible Sentences
Semantic Mapping
Contextual Redefinition
Previewing Content Vocabulary
Instructional Strategy:
Assesses Students' Understanding of Words and Concepts
Word Sort
Word Wall
I Spy: A Word Scavenger Hunt
Survival of the Fittest
I'm thinking of a Word...
What did you think?
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Concept circles can be used many different ways. A concept circle is split into 4 different sections. Each section is a spot for a word. Teachers can give students a concept circle with 4 words and ask them to write about the connections between the words. Teacher could just put words in 2-3 of the sections asking the students to fill in the others and describe their reasoning for picking the words they did. The students could also be asked to fill in all four spaces and give reasoning behind the connections between words. Concept circles give students practice applying their knowledge of word meanings to make connections.
Concept Ladders are meant to be used with big ideas or concepts for students to gain a deeper understanding. Usually concept ladders are used over the course of a unit. Students continue to add information as they learn more and more about the topic. After students have completed their concept ladders they are able to use them as a resource for writing activities.
This activity is meant to teach technical vocabulary that students will need to know when reading a particular text. Students are given a list of key concepts and vocabulary that are found in the texts. Students then work in groups to sort these words logically into five different categories. Then students must give each group a label and be able to justify their categories to the class. This activity allows students to access their background knowledge on the topic and provides them opportunities to make connections with key vocabulary.
The Frayer Model is a graphic organizer that allows students to gain a deeper understanding of a concept by looking at examples and non-examples . The Frayer model has 4 squares that the student fill in. The first square is the definition of the concept. The second square the student should put characteristics of the concepts, they should be thinking of things that make it different from similar concepts. The third box is for examples of the concept and the last box is for non-examples of the concept. Allen also leaves a spot for students to write down how they will remember the word by making their own connections. This strategy provides students with the opportunity to explore concepts deeply so that they are better able to understand them.
A focused cloze is a piece of text that the academic vocabulary has been removed from and replaced with blanks. Students are given a list of vocabulary words and have to insert them in the correct spot in the text. This strategy helps to assess and build background knowledge of the vocabulary words.
Contextual redefinition helps students to determine the definition of words by using clues from the text. Students use a graphic organizer to predict the meaning of a list of vocabulary words before they begin reading. Students then fill in the definition after they read the text and describe what context clues they came across to help them with the definition. Students can also comment on if their first prediction was correct. This strategy makes students more aware when they are reading and helps to keep them engaged in the text.
Students are given a list of words and three different labels. Students need to sort the words into the three different categories based on how frequent each word comes into contact with the category label. Words can go in more than one category and are considered correct if the students can justify why each word fits in the category. After the students have completed their lists they need to select one list and use the words in it to complete a writing piece. This strategy helps students "to examine and discriminate between roles and activities of a person or object."
The teacher reads a short passage from the text to students twice while students take note of any phrases or words that are familiar to them. Then students work together and share their lists of words and phrases. Next students will work together to try to reconstruct the original passage. After they have their reconstructed passage they will compare it to the original passage. This strategy gives students the opportunity to explore the meaning of content vocabulary. It also gives the teacher information about where the students background knowledge.
The LEAD vocab strategy allows the teacher to assess students' prior knowledge related to an anticipated activity. There are three steps to this activity:
L- List specialized or academic vocabulary words related to the topic.
EA- Provide students with an experience activity where they would use the specialized highlighted word.
D- Discuss the topic using the specialized vocabulary words as a way of focusing the discussion.
This strategy can be used to encourage students' active involvement in creating the specialized word list for any portion of the text you are using to teach content or concepts.
The "I am thinking of a word" strategy is very common. In order to use this activity the teacher chooses words taught during a recent novel or unit and then gives clues to help students identify which word it could be. Start by giving small clues and if students struggle to identify begin to give richer and more detailed clues. This strategy can be used as a review of words at the end of a unit to allow students to solidify their understanding of specialized vocab in that unit.
I Spy is an activity designed to provide students with an opportunity to apply and discover applications of target vocabulary words in real-life contexts. This strategy is very similar to a word scavenger hunt. The student is given the word; they then need to determine where it was discovered, and artifact to bring in, as well as the definition that connects to the unit of study. This strategy is ideal because it can tell teachers if students have developed an in-depth understanding of the word and its attributes.
Students use list-group-label to think about, discuss, categorize, and label words related to a central concept. This is a 3-step process.
1. Students are given a word and need to list as many words that related to the given word.
2. They then get into small groups and combine their terms by putting them into logical categories.
3. They then label each of their categories.
With this activity a teacher can assess background knowledge. You can also use these new terms to add to your class word wall.
This strategy is used to allow students and teachers to assess background knowledge of the words and concepts they will encounter in a specific reading assignment. There are four levels of words knowledge:
1. I have never seen the word before.
2. Heard the word, but I don't know what it means.
3.I recognize the word in context and know that is it connected/related to ___.
4. I know the word and can use it appropriately.
Possible Questions asks students to use specialized academic vocabulary words from an upcoming text to predict possible questions they believe the text will answer. During and after reading, students can use their questions to monitor and check for understanding. This is a great strategy to help build background knowledge and anticipate prior to beginning a new chapter, or unit of study.
Possible sentences is a pre-reading activity that gives students the opportunity to predict the content of an upcoming reading based on targeted vocab words. Students use two or more words in a sentence that they predict will occur in the upcoming text. Possible sentence steps:
1. Select words from the text that are critical to understanding.
2. Read target words out loud.
3. Assign groups and have students write sentences they think they will read in the text.
4.Students keep track of predicted text.
5.All words in target list should be used.
6. Students use their sentences as support while reading the text.

This strategy is designed for students to think about, discuss, and determine important attributes of words. For an example, choose a group of words with common characteristics. List them down the left side of a grid. Students discuss each word and place a plus sign under each heading working across the row, in which the characteristics applies to the word. Place a minus sign if the characteristic does not apply to the word. If students are unsure, place a question mark in the box. This strategy should be used when students need to discriminate between items that have similar characteristics. Using the following example, it is clear that the words down the side have similar characteristics. However, the headings at the top of the chart allow students to gain a clearer understanding by category between words that apply and words that do not.
We all know how effective collaborative learning can be. This strategy is broken into three stages: work independently and think about a question or issue; next, the student pairs with another and shares their ideas; and finally, two pairs collaborate and share their ideas. Targeted vocabulary words can be given to students by the teacher, and by using the think, pair, share strategy, students they can gain better understanding in a collaborative way.


It is nice that blank graphic organizers that go with the strategies are provided on a cd.
Student examples are provided with each of the strategies, the visual and topic examples makes it easier to understand how they work.
The teacher begins by giving the students a word or concept and students begin brainstorming attributes, characteristics, related words or ideas, and examples. The semantic map is a visual representation of the discussion. Research indicates that visual semantic mapping helps students memorize vocabulary words. Here are two semantic webs designed by students when studying the Civil War:
Janet Allen breaks down each strategy into numbered steps to make it easy to implement.
Here is an example of a Vocab-o-gram:
How does this work?
This graphic organizer allows students to make predictions about the story using words from the story within different categories of a story such as plot, characters, setting, conflict, etc.
This is a strategy where students sort words from a word bank into categories where the words have a common element. There are open and closed word sorts. An open word sort is when students sort words into categories they create. A closed word sort is when students sort words into categories selected by the teacher.
A Word Wall is used in a classroom to visually display words. A high-utility Word Wall consists of words used throughout the year. A topical Word Wall are words pertaining to themes, text, or unit, etc., and can be changed intermittently. Word Walls support reading and writing and an interactive classroom community.
Students are asked which word doesn't fit with the other words in a given list. Words should be predetermined based upon a theme or unit of study. That word is omitted and students are then asked for an appropriate title for the remaining words. The title should be descriptive of why these words fit together. Students could also brainstorm another word that would fit in the list.
This books includes research based strategies.
By: Elizabeth DePue, Kacey Kwiecien &
LeAnn Loft-Brewster

There are many strategies and could be considered overwhelming or tedious to some teachers.
Thank you!
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