The Fellows’ Network is a group of instructional leaders convened by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and the Association of Educational Service Districts (AESD) to support district and community implementation of state learning standards in mathematics, English Language Arts (ELA), and science, and the Early Learning Guidelines. The Network has steadily grown since its inception in 2013 to include more content areas and instructional leaders.
In a nutshell, the network allows for collaboration across districts and within schools aimed at improving instruction.
ESD123 has provided ELA participants with copies of Building Academic Vocabulary, Robert J. Marzano and Debra J. Pickering.
Asotin School District Fellows have chosen academic vocabulary as a primary focus.
Marzano and Pickering write, “Teaching specific terms in a specific way is probably the strongest action a teacher can take to ensure that students have the academic background knowledge they need to understand the content they will encounter in school.
When all the teachers in a school focus on the same academic vocabulary and teach it in the same way, the school has a powerful comprehensive approach. When all teachers in a district embrace and use the approach, it becomes even more powerful.”
We’re just getting our feet wet regarding specifics in the action plan, but I wanted to share this resource. It is a solid guide that may prove useful for you and/or your building. It offers a systematic approach for integrating academic vocabulary in the classroom, across grade levels, and throughout a district. It’s a five-phase process:
Phase 1: Make decisions about the target number of words to be taught at each grade level and, by extension, across a grade-level interval (K-2, 3-5, 6-8, or 9-12) or a multigrade span (e.g., K-6 or K-12)
Phase 2: For each academic content area in the program, create a rank-ordered list of words considered important to the grade-level interval or multigrade span by selecting words from Appendix B and adding words that reflect local standards and curriculum materials.
Phase 3: Based on the length of these lists, determine how many terms should be taught in each academic area.
Phase 4: Generate the final list of terms for each academic area by making additions, deletions, or other alterations.
Phase 5: Assign terms to specific grades.
Most helpful is the list of 7,923 academic vocabulary terms listed for 11 subject areas and assigned to four levels.
These lists are comprehensive and save significant time for districts and teachers. I encourage you to investigate this manual and see if it might help improve instruction for your students.