Investigating Best Strategies for Academic .Investigating Best Strategies for Academic Vocabulary Virginia Dept. of Education Title III Statewide Consortium Conference Audrey Cohan,

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  • Investigating Best Strategies for Academic VocabularyVirginia Dept. of Education

    Title III Statewide Consortium Conference

    Audrey Cohan, Ed.D. Molloy College

    Rockville Centre, NY

    Audrey_Cohan Created with Dr. Andrea Honigsfeld

  • Session Objectives

    In todays session we will:

    Discover new aspects of academic language to

    meet the needs of ELLs;

    Consider ways to create multiple opportunities for

    students to use academic language;

    Learn strategies for the word, sentence, and

    discourse levels.

  • What do teachers need to work effectively with ELLs? (Rojas, 2001)



    Strategies and techniques

  • Quick Write or Quick Draw

    Teaching academic language to my students is like __________________________________ because__________________________________________________________.

  • How to use sentence starters?

    I think..

    I wonder..

    I feel..

  • Definitions of AL offered by several educational researchers:

    ...the language that is used by teachers and students for the purpose of acquiring new knowledge and skills...imparting new information, describing abstract ideas, and developing students conceptual understandings (Chamot & OMalley, 1994, p. 40).

    ...word knowledge that makes it possible for students to engage with, produce, and talk about texts that are valued in school (Flynt & Brozo, 2008, p. 500).

    Academic English is the language of the classroom, of academic disciplines (science, history, literary analysis) of texts and literature, and of extended, reasoned discourse. It is more abstract and decontextualized than conversational English (Gersten, Baker, Shanahan, Linan-Thompson, Collins, & Scarcella, 2007, p. 16).

    Academic language is the set of words, grammar, and organizational strategies used to describe complex ideas, higher-order thinking processes, and abstract concepts (Zwiers, 2008, p. 20).

  • Features of Academic Language




    General, specific, transitional, and technical


    Words and phrases with multiple meanings

    Formulaic and idiomatic expressions

    Collocations, nuances, and shades of meaning

    Types and varieties of grammatical structures

    Conventions, mechanics, and fluency

    Match of language forms to purpose/perspective

    Amount of speech/written text

    Structure of speech/written text

    Density of speech/written text

    Organization and cohesion of ideas (thinking)

    Variety of sentences and sentence types

  • Framing the Teaching of Academic Language




  • Which words do I teach?

    Tier 2

    Tier 1

    Tier 3

    Common every day

    words that many

    students know


    Words that appear in a single

    context, often domain-

    specific/technical vocabulary

    that often needs to be

    explicitly taught.

    High-utility words that occur in many

    contexts, may have multiple meanings, and

    are used to process Information. The

    power behind students curricular


  • Teaching VocabularyEssential Criteria

    Conceptual Understanding


    Importance and Utility


  • Read It, Say It, Write It

    What they dont understand about birthdays and what they never tell you is that when youre eleven, youre also ten, and nine, and eight, and seven, and six, and five, and four, and three, and two, and one.(Cisneros, Sandra. Eleven. Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories. New York: Random House, 1991. CCSS Appendix B, p. 87).

  • Read It, Say It, Write It

    Students can use the following sentence frame borrowed from Cisneros to discuss their own experiences of being an adolescent, the member of a sports team, or any other challenges they face:

    What they dont understand about ____________________ and what they never tell you is that ____________________.

  • Tricolon

    A series of three parallel words, phrases, or clauses.

    Words such as "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

    Phrases such as "government of the people, by the people, for the people."

  • Famous Speech

    If there is anyone out there [1] who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; [2] who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; [3] who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.

  • The Magic of ThreeThree nouns (or adjective-noun combinations):

    ______________________, _______________________,

    and ____________________________ swam by us in the


    Three verbs:

    I was ____________________, _____________________,

    and ________________________________ in the park.

    Three parallel phrases:

    At school, its important to


    ___________________________________, and


  • Text Mark Ups

    = Confirmed my thinking

    + Added to my thinking

    Changed my thinking

  • Supporting Language

    Functions Acknowldeging ideas:

    My idea is similar to _____

    I agree/disagree with ______ because

    My response to _______ builds upon _______

    As it has been established by others, _____________

    As previously mentioned, ____________


    The main points expressed in these poems are ______

    The significance of ________ is ____________

    The notion of _______ can be expressed as _______

    From my perspective, what these poems mean is _____

  • Questions? Final Thoughts?