How are You Incorporating Academic Vocabulary?

I recently read an article about a spelling bee in the Giles County Public Schools in Tennessee.  The words used were all from the Tennessee Academic Vocabulary List. The winning word for third grade was wrestle, fourth grade was analogy, and fifth grade was illegal.

I had a friend who was observed in a classroom recently.  One of the comments he received was “use more academic vocabulary when explaining math lessons.”

I can’t pick up a paper or read a blog without seeing something about academic vocabulary.  It’s become ubiquitous.  It’s just everywhere.

I’m finding the emphasis on academic vocabulary fascinating.  Kids need to learn so much that it sometimes seems that this is being tacked on.  Yet, when you start to see the lists of words, they make real sense to me that they are being taught to children when they are young.

I’ve looked at various lists from around the country.  While they all vary a bit, they all include words that will give kids common knowledge.  These lists include words that are subject specific and words that are specific to things like following directions.  If we start with young children by teaching the words that are essential to making learning easier, we will be doing them a real service.

Are you using specific academic vocabulary with your students?  How are you making it interesting for kids?  Are you seeing any difference in your students understanding based on the use of academic vocabulary?

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