ELA / Instruction · October 26, 2022

Help Students Move from “Renting” to “Owning” Vocabulary: 3 Ways to Build Background by Emphasizing Key Vocabulary

Vocabulary development is crucial to student success, however, overused vocabulary tactics can grow uninspired and tiresome. Read more below to learn about 3 different ways to help move students from “renting” to “owning” vocabulary.

Why Teach Vocabulary Development

While vocabulary is often closely linked with reading comprehension, vocabulary development is actually crucial to success in all 4 language domains of reading, writing, speaking, and listening. While teaching vocabulary, you ground students in the lesson by previewing language that is important to the content of the lesson, it helps students recognize and interact with vocabulary throughout a lesson and encourages students to continue to build their ownership of vocabulary. 

“First, helping students focus on the familiar first is a good place to start.  Next, students come with valuable knowledge and skills that need to be used.  Finally, vocabulary must be a conscious, sustained effort.  Once again, SIOP helps teachers consciously attend to language.”

TESOL Trainers

3 Ways to Emphasize Key Vocabulary

✨ Tip #1: App Smash Seesaw and Discovery Education

Seesaw and Discovery Education are two of my favorite resources, and vocabulary development is a great time to bridge these two wonderful resources. When working with vocabulary, it’s important that students focus on all parts of vocabulary development. The four parts include 

Form = what the word looks like
Usage = how the word is used
Meaning = what the word means
Pronunciation = how the word sounds

By using Seesaw, you can easily fit in all parts of vocabulary development into one assignment.

In the example below, students hunt on discovery education for images, sounds, and facts to go along with a vocabulary word. In this activity, students will touch on all four parts of vocabulary development. 

✨ Tip #2: Use Flashcard Factory on PearDeck to Up Engagement

Flashcard factory is a fun, interactive take on flashcards. Students work together to create a flashcard that includes both text and visual representations. Teachers can monitor student responses and create a “deck” that students can then use to study. 

Flashcard Factory is included with a PearDeck premium subscription. Want to learn more? See it in action by watching the video below. 

✨ Tip #3: Swap out your old paper pencil activities with new strategies on discovery education 

When considering vocabulary practice, you can never go wrong with a good paper pencil activity. Looking for a new strategy to try? Check out the Vocabulary  Development Channel on Discovery Education. Each strategy includes a video that walks teachers through how to use the strategy and helps to support implementation. It may also include a video that teaches students how to use the strategy, as well. When applicable, it also includes a PDF download. 

Interested in see what SOS Strategies Discovery Education has to offer? See more, here.