Understanding Academic Vocabulary in a Nonfiction Text
Students will be able to define academic vocabulary in a grade level text.
- Ask a student volunteer to briefly explain nonfiction and choose a nonfiction text from the classroom library. Clarify that a nonfiction text or book is about a real topic.
- Skim through the pages until you find a word that most students wouldn't know without using tools, such as an online dictionary, to figure out the meaning.
- Write the word on the whiteboard and model a think-aloud. Say, "Hmm...I'm not sure what ____ means. What tools could I use to figure out the meaning of this word?"
- Allow a few students to share out responses and record accurate responses on the board under the heading "Tools for Tricky Words."
- Explain that today students will be learning about tools they can use to figure out tricky vocabulary words in a nonfiction text.
Explicit Instruction/Teacher modeling(10 minutes)
- Explain to students that sometimes there are context clues, words or phrases before or after the tricky word in the text, that can help you figure out the meaning of the word. Record the words context clues on the board under "Tools for Tricky Words."
- Read the sentence before and after the word to see if there are any clues that can help students figure out the meaning of the word.
- Show students a hard copy of an age-appropriate dictionary, and explain that a dictionary is another tool that can help you figure out the meaning of a tricky word. Model finding the chosen word in the dictionary. Record the word dictionary under "Tools for Tricky Words."
- Bring out a tablet, if possible, and guide students through the process of looking up the chosen word using an age-appropriate online dictionary. Record the words online dictionary under "Tools for Tricky Words."
- Using the definitions and information you found using context clues and dictionaries, draw a picture that relates to your chosen vocabulary word. Explain that pictures can really help us lock in the meaning of a tricky word in our brains!
Guided Practice(20 minutes)
- Choose another word from the nonfiction text that most students wouldn't know the meaning of unless using various tools.
- Allow a few student volunteers to come to the front of the classroom to model how to look for context clues and use an age-appropriate dictionary and online dictionary to figure out the meaning. Encourage a couple of students to draw a picture that relates to the tricky vocabulary word.
- Clarify any confusion about using tools to figure out tricky vocabulary words before moving on.
- Project A Chicken's Life Cycle worksheet on the board and pass out a copy to each student. Explain that before they figure out the tricky words on their own, you will read through the first part as a class and figure out the meaning of the first three vocabulary words.
- Pass out dictionaries and tablets with online dictionaries (if available). Allow the students to help figure out the meaning of the tricky vocabulary words and model recording the words on the bottom of A Chicken's Life Cycle worksheet. Make sure students record their answers on their worksheets as well.
Independent working time(15 minutes)
- Give students time to use context clues, age-appropriate dictionaries, and online dictionaries, to figure out the meaning of incubation and egg tooth.
- Encourage students to draw pictures that relate to the tricky vocabulary words underneath their definitions on A Chicken's Life Cycle worksheet.
- Rotate around the room and provide students with support and clarification as needed.
Support: Allow students to work with a partner during independent work time.
- Encourage students to write new sentences using the tricky vocabulary words.
- Provide students with the Life Cycle of a Bird worksheet to complete and have students define key terms using one of the tools discussed in today's lesson.
- Ask students to do a think-pair-share with an elbow partner, sharing the meaning of 2–3 words.
- Collect student worksheets and use them as a formative assessment to guide future lessons on defining academic vocabulary in nonfiction texts.
Review and closing(10 minutes)
- Write the following comprehension questions on the board and have students record their answers in a reading log or journal and share them with a neighbor.
- What is the main idea of the text? Use at least two vocabulary words in your answer.
- What tools can you use if you don't know a word in a text you are reading? Why is it important to figure out the meaning of words? How does this support your understanding of the text?
- Collect student logs or journals and use them to guide future instruction on academic vocabulary.