Alicia Fernandez Portfolio
Students need to be able to understand the academic instruction and texts they encounter in the classroom. The ability to do so is greatly facilitated by the acquisition of academic vocabulary. This is the language used in textbooks, reference resources, exams, and lectures. Most students do not come across this vocabulary outside of the scholastic environment. Much of this vocabulary is content specific and is essential to attaining deep understanding of concepts. However, there are specific terms that are used repeatedly across grades and disciplines, which are critical to the progression of literacy skills. This mini-course will serve to facilitate the integration of critical academic vocabulary instruction across disciplines.
This course will enable the following learning outcomes based on Gagne's theory of instruction:
- Participants will be able to provide a general definition of academic vocabulary (Verbal).
- Participants will be able to distinguish between instructional and subject-specific academic vocabulary (Verbal and Intellectual).
- Participants will be able to identify and classify academic vocabulary according to tier, frequency of usage and applicability across disciplines (Intellectual and Cognitive Strategy).
- Participants will ascertain how to incorporate tools and strategies in their pedagogy to increase academic vocabulary acquisition (Intellectual and Cognitive Strategy).
- Participants will develop an academic vocabulary exercise to be implemented in their lesson plan(s) (Cognitive Strategy).
- Participants will choose to implement direct instruction of academic vocabulary in their teaching practices (Attitude).
1. Instructional Problem
The College Board reported that average reading and writing scores for the high-school graduating class of 2011 were the lowest ever recorded (College Board, 2012). Numerous studies have indicated that vocabulary knowledge and reading comprehension are critical determinants of academic achievement (Kelley, Lesaux, Kieffer, & Faller, 2010). However, the scarcity of systematic and intentional vocabulary teaching is evident in the 6% of school time devoted to its cultivation (Scott & Nagy, 1997). Researchers strongly urge the direct and explicit instruction of academic vocabulary words to improve learning outcomes in all content areas.
2. What is to be Learned?
Participants will learn which words are deemed to be critical academic vocabulary. They will also be provided with tools and methods to incorporate direct academic vocabulary instruction in their pedagogy.
3. The Participants
Participants will include educators teaching in K-16 environments, literacy centers, after-school programs and tutors seeking to address the aforementioned instructional problem. The participants will have had experience utilizing Web 2.0 tools and exhibit a fair amount of technological self-efficacy. The asynchronous, self-directed course will also require that participants be self-regulated learners.
4. Context for Instruction
Participants in this mini-course will access content in an online, asynchronous modality. Access to the instructional content will require Internet connectivity, computer with ability to open and edit Microsoft Office documents, view online videos and create content to post online. ( I will list the specific software and apps required as I finalize choices.)
5. Exploring the Instructional Problem and Solution
Participants in this mini-course will learn of several successful academic vocabulary teaching programs implemented across disciplines. They will then be able to utilize to engage in activities using the tools and methods presented to determine what will be the best fit for their student population’s needs.
6. Goals of this Mini-Course
The main goal of the mini-course is for participants to develop a deeper understanding of what effective academic vocabulary instruction is and how to include it in their instructional design. By the end of the course, participants should be capable and willing to implement the strategies and tools demonstrated in the mini-course and apply them to authentic tasks to assist in the development of lifelong literacy.
By the end of the course, participants will be able to do the following:
- Provide a verbal or written definition for the term “academic vocabulary” (Comprehension/Cognitive).
- Delineate between different types and tiers of academic vocabulary in a matching exercise derived from the lists provided (Application/Cognitive).
- Explain the significance of academic vocabulary’s impact on learning by citing one of the examples provided and possible applications to their own practice (Analysis - Problem Solving, Synthesis).
- Create an exercise that incorporates direct vocabulary instruction to best fit their course design that incorporates at least two of the tools covered in the course (Evaluation).
What is academic vocabulary instruction? Why is it essential to successful learning outcomes across the curriculum?
- Participant will analyze data regarding the concept of academic vocabulary instruction and its purpose.
- Participant will examine a list of words designated as critical instructional academic vocabulary.
- Participant will examine a list of words designated as content-specific academic vocabulary.
- Participant will learn to identify critical academic terms and distinguish between types and tiers.
- Participant will review examples of lessons plans that successfully include direct academic vocabulary instruction.
Activity: Participant will review one of their recent lesson plans to determine if the vocabulary instruction was strictly content -specific. They will post their assessment in the Discussion area. This reflective post will be revisited after Unit 2.
How to teach academic vocabulary across the curriculum?
- Participant will learn how to carefully select academic terms to be taught within subject areas.
- Participant will learn different strategies to teach academic vocabulary including Marzanoâ€™s Six-Step Strategy.
- Participant will view brief video lectures regarding the instructional strategies.
- Participant will examine different tools used to teach academic vocabulary including both technological and non-technological resources.
Activity 1: Participants will take a brief quiz to demonstrate their comprehension of the academic vocabulary selection, instructional strategies and tools.
Activity 2: After seeing how to incorporate academic vocabulary instruction into different subjects, go back and review the post from Unit 1. What would you do differently now? Post a brief response to this question in the Discussion area.
How can academic vocabulary instruction be implemented across the curriculum?
- Participants will observe video testimonials and case studies demonstrating the effective use of the tools and strategies presented.
- Participants will apply the strategies and tools to their own lesson plan.
Final activity: Participant will create an academic vocabulary exercise to be implemented in their existing lesson plan, following the criteria delineated in the rubric provided. The participant will submit their revised lesson plan and also their assessment of their performance as per the rubric.