Vocab

This condition entailed five steps: determine the part of speech of the word, focus on the grammar of the sentence, focus on the sentences that come before and after the vocabulary word, make a guess of the definition, and check the definition. Researchers have found that word meanings are retained longer when they are included in numerous classroom assignments. In order to really know a word, students must be able to use it in more than one context; it must be used in writing, speaking, and listening.

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Method

Context-Clue Instruction. After reading the first two acts of The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, the teacher introduced the class to the next set of 15 words. On Tuesday students were asked to write down the words on the How Well Do I Know These Words handout, adapted from Allen (1999). Then, using a strategy derived from Center and Associates (2002), she asked the students to use structural analysis (prefixes, suffixes, root words) and prior knowledge to define any words that they already knew. The teacher then engaged the class in a short discussion of how they knew the meanings of some of the words by asking what words students had written in each of the columns on the handout. After the words were discussed, the teacher provided a second handout that included each word used in a sentence; she told the students to circle any context clues that helped them determine the word’s meaning. The teacher reviewed the students’ answers with them, and the students decided on a mutual definition of the word. Then, they checked their definitions against the ones provided in the textbook. For homework, students were to create Word in My Context (Allen, 1999) pages for the five most difficult words for themselves. On Wednesday through the following Monday, students finished reading the remaining acts of The Tragedy of Julius Caesar. As they read the remaining acts, the teacher directed them to examine the context clues that surrounded the words in the play. By Monday, students had a well-defined list of vocabulary words for the second vocabulary test. They were given The Tragedy of Julius Caesar Vocabulary Test Two (VT2) on Tuesday.

How Well Do I Know These Words?

types of context clues hand out — start with this, then a list of words, how well do I know these words, a handout with page numbers and a place for definitions, and then words in my context graphic organizer for five of the words.

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