Welcome to our continuing discussion, Build Your Own Toolkit with CrowdED Learning! Our focus for topic four is vocabulary and grammar. Last week we were introduced to two resources by Jeff Goumas, Quill and AUS Tier Two Vocabulary During our discussion, Susan Finn Miller told us about two more sites: Learn American English Online and All Things Grammar.
Good morning Jeff! I look forward to learning more about vocabulary and grammar instructional strategies this week!
Thank you, Jeri...and my apologies for the delay! Once again, we will start with the questions and then dive into considerations around integration strategies.
All of this content can be found and shared by way of this Google Doc.
During Week 1 of this topic, we explored a pair of freely available resources that are effective for providing skill instruction and practice in two important components of reading and writing instruction:
- Grammar and Usage | Clearly outlined within the Language standards of the College & Career Readiness Standards for Adult Education, mastery of the conventions of standard English are essential for being effective communicators in writing and speech. To support development of these skills, we explored Quill.
- Vocabulary | Words form the building blocks of everything we read. With increased focus on informational text and readers’ ability to derive meaning from complex texts, understanding the vocabulary used in these types of text is critical for comprehension. To support instruction of academic—or Tier 2—vocabulary, we explored Appalachian State University’s Teaching Vocabulary for Intermediate Learners lesson bank.
For Week 2 of this topic, we are now going to shift our attention to strategies for integrating grammar and vocabulary into your regular instruction using these resources and more.
- Grammar Instruction | How do you incorporate development of grammar and usage skills into your language arts instruction? Is it integrated into or applied within the context of specific reading or writing activities, or is it done in isolation. How might you use a resource such as Quill to provide leveled and/or contextualized development of grammar and usage skills?
- Vocabulary Instruction | What strategies do you use to incorporate vocabulary into reading or content-area instruction? Specifically, how do you develop Tier 2 academic vocabulary? How might you integrate the tools introduced within this topic into your instruction?
- Integrating Technology | How might you leverage technologies such as the Teaching Vocabulary for Intermediate Learners Quizlet decks or Quill to provide increased opportunities for integrating vocabulary and grammar into your instruction?
Which conventions of standard English should be taught?
The Language anchor standards within the College and Career Readiness Standards for Adult Education “include the essential ‘rules’ of standard written and spoken English, but they also approach language as a matter of craft and informed choice among alternatives.” (p. 33)
- CCR Anchor 1 | Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
- CCR Anchor 2 | Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
- CCR Anchor 3 | Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening.
Within each of these anchor standards, there is specific detail as to what conventions should be focused upon at levels A through E, with the expectation that a learner at one level has mastered all conventions at previous levels. CrowdED Learning has provided alignments of Quill lessons and activities to most of the above CCRS standards.
What is “Tier 2” Vocabulary?
The CCRS emphasize the importance of building academic and content-area vocabulary in Language anchor standard 6:
CCR Anchor 6 | Acquire and use accurately a range of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when encountering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression.
As noted in Week 1, the Academic Word LIst is a commonly referenced source for identifying Tier 2 vocabulary. While resources such as ASU’s Teaching Vocabulary for Intermediate Learners provide explicit instruction and practice with sets of words with this list, how do you apply instruction of academic vocabulary with the specific texts your students are reading?
Many reading resources—publisher and free alike—include activities or at least identification of the academic vocabulary used within each text. One resource that was shared as part of an earlier discussion within this event was the Web VP Classic Vocabulary Profiler*. This tool allows you to type or copy-paste any text to see what words within the passage come from the Academic Word List. The list shown here was generated when by copying and pasting the text from a story about Sacagawea from Reading Skills for Today’s Adults. As you can see, the tool MAGICALLY pulled all words from the Academic Word List within this text and organized them into their respective sublists.
Tools such as the Vocabulary Profiler give instructors the ability to take any text—from existing resources, contextualized resources such as employer manuals, safety manuals (OSHA guidelines), and other resources that are relevant to adult learners, and extract the key Tier 2 vocabulary needed for learners to better comprehend the text.
*Cobb,T. Web Vocabprofile [accessed 30 October 2019 from http://www.lextutor.ca/vp/ ], an adaptation of Heatley, Nation & Coxhead's (2002) Range.
Heatley, A., Nation, I.S.P. & Coxhead, A. (2002). RANGE and FREQUENCY programs. Available at http://www.victoria.ac.nz/lals/staff/paul-nation.aspx .
Thank you, Jeff, for prompting this grammar and vocabulary discussion. In my classes, I have taught conventions within the context of writing (sentences, paragraphs, essays). I would also present specific mini-lessons based on the needs I observed in my students’ writings. Unfortunately, while teaching in corrections, I did not have access to the online resources you have presented. However, I love Quill, and could draw upon some excellent examples to use with my students.
I taught vocabulary using explicit instruction, usually five tier two words per week. I used the instructional techniques that were presented by Steve in the Appalachian State University’s lesson bank.
While we often focus heavily on reading comprehension we also need to remember that, to develop comprehension, a reader must have strengths in the other three components (alphabetics, fluency and vocabulary). In the Adult Reading Component Study it was found that 30% of all intermediate level adult education students need vocabulary instruction.
I am interested to hear about how others teach vocabulary. Please share your ideas and instructional strategies!