wordsalive
Wordsalive
A Vocabulary Acquisition Program
for Middle Schools
“A word is the skin of a living
thing.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes
wordsalive
LET’S BRAINSTORM

What are the problems your students
have when you introduce new
material?

What are the ways in which you
introduce new words to your
students?

How was vocabulary taught to you
when you were a student?
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SIMULATION # 1

Find a partner who teaches a different
subject from the one you teach.

Using the methods you usually use with
students, teach one word from your
subject area to your partner.
Trade roles so that your partner teaches
you one word from his or her discipline.

How do we really learn new words
and make them our own?
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Martha Rapp Haggard tells us that adults
have a three step process.
1. Search for the word’s meaning and
pronunciation.
2. Practice the word in a low risk situation.
3. Use the word properly without effort.
“Vocabulary self-collection strategy: an active approach to
word learning.” (1982). Journal of Reading, 26.3, 203-207.
What are the characteristics of
good vocabulary instruction?
Eileen Carr and Karen Wixson provide four
guidelines for evaluating vocabulary instruction.
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Students should:

relate new vocabulary to background knowledge;

develop elaborated word knowledge;

be actively involved in learning; and

develop strategies for acquiring vocabulary
independently.
“Guidelines for evaluating vocabulary instruction.” (1986). Journal of Reading,
29.7, 558-595.
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The purpose of the workshop is to
provide the tools for all teachers to
teach vocabulary meaningfully on a
daily basis, via content area
instruction, and in a way that
extrapolates student learning.

Is there a word in the purpose statement which
needs more instruction? Which one?
…to provide the tools…
to teach vocabulary…in a way that
extrapolates student learning
improves
extends
Wordsalive Map
extend a curve or function beyond
the range of known values using the
values that have already been
determined
confines
Sketch as a personal
clue, association, or
visualization
extra-beyond
pol-polish
ate- to make
verb/Latin
enhance,
enrich or
go beyond
what’s there
polish
extracurricular
Escher’s designs extrapolate a
variety of shapes.
Day and Night by M. C. Escher
Parts of sentence(s) from the
book which reveal the context
Guessed
definition
Synonym
Wordsalive Map
Dictionary
Definition
Antonym or
nonexample
Sketch as a personal
clue, association, or
visualization
Paraphrased
definition
Etymolog
y and
P.O.S.
Related
Words
Caption using the
new word
Wordsalive Map
SIMULATION # 2
Find a partner who teaches the
same subject as you do.

Using the wordsalive map
transparency, choose a familiar
word from your subject area to
map with your partner.
Take a short break.
Share and discuss.
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


Why do we need to do all the parts of
the Wordsalive Map?
Baumann and Kameenui discuss three levels of word
knowledge that can be used to consider depth of understanding
and related instructional procedures.
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1. Association: with a single definition or
context
2. Comprehension: broad understanding
and ability to use, classify or identify the
opposite
3. Generation: ability to produce a novel
response
“Research on vocabulary instruction: Ode to Voltaire.” (1991).
Handbook on Teaching the English Language Arts, 602-632.
Baumann and Kameenui’s three levels of
word knowledge: an analogy
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Association: shaking hands
Comprehension: becoming
friends
Generation: calling on a
friend when in need
Copy the
sentence
Association
Why?
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

Facilitates decoding and provides direct
interaction with the word.
Focuses attention on the context clues and the
content.
How?



Copy only as much of the context that supplies
the essence of the meaning for the new word.
Use selection and deselection of information.
Include the sentence before or after the new
word, if necessary.
Copy the
sentence
Association
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Copy only the essential context from the following sentences:
“If Immanuel Kant had stumbled across this luncheon after his
noon Beverly Hills shrink appointment, he would have
quickly discerned that Lisa is all phenomena and no
noumena, and that Mirabelle is all noumena and no
phenomena.” (p 32)
“Mirabelle is not sparkling tonight, because she works only in
gears, and tonight she is in the wrong gear. Third gear is her
scholarly, perspicacious, witty self; second gear is her
happy, giddy, childish self; and first gear is her complaining,
helpless, unmotivated self. Tonight she is somewhere
midshift...” (p 63)
“But right now, he is using the hours with her as a portal to his
own need for propinquity.” (p 77)
Association
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Record only the essential context into the speech bubble.
Copy the
sentence
All contexts are not
created equal!
1. Misdirective contexts which mislead the
reader.
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2. Nondirective contexts which provide no
assistance to the reader.
3. General contexts which provide only enough
information for the reader to categorize the
unknown word.
4. Directive contexts which lead the reader to the
specific, correct meaning for a new word.
Beck, McKeown, and McCaslin, “Vocabulary Development: All
contexts are not created equal.” (1983). Elementary School
Journal 177-181.
All contexts are not
created equal!
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Misdirective Context
“Mr. Barry, ...this is just a courtesy call to do you
the courtesy of interrupting your dinner so I
can ask you a question. …I hang up. But of
course this does not stop them. …they call
again. That’s how courteous they are.”
Dave Barry, Richmond Times-Dispatch
November 12, 2000
All contexts are not
created equal!
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Nondirective Context
“ There is a doggedness about [Charles] Wright’s
treatment of these things that becomes, as the
poems pile up, somehow both humble and
heroic.”
Ron Smith, Richmond Times-Dispatch
November 12, 2000
All contexts are not
created equal!
General Context
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“ ’Meat is contraband,’ the customs agent said as
he confiscated the ham.’ ”
Jonathan Yardley, Richmond TimesDispatch
November 12, 2000
“ In him [Arthur Miller] the American theater
found, perhaps for the first time, an eloquence
and an amplitude of feeling…”
Jere Real, Richmond Times-Dispatch
November 12, 2000
All contexts are not
created equal!
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Directive Context
“On the other hand, the windblown deposits of
mineral-rich dust and silt called loess have
benefited farmers in China, the American
Midwest and other parts of the world.”
World Geography : Prentice Hall, page 51.
Association
Guess, copy and paraphrase the definition
Why use the dictionary?
Why
guess?
To activate
background
knowledge.
To link the word to the
appropriate definition
based on the context.
Why
paraphrase
?
To lead to
the
comprehen
-sion level.
We learn more when we are self-involved.
Guess and paraphrase the
definition
a covering
of a plane without
overlaps or gaps using
combinations of congruent
figures
preponderant influence
or authority especially of
one nation over others
the process of the edge of
one crustal plate descending
below the edge of another
The paraphrase begins the comprehension process.
Comprehension
Comprehension
Synonym, antonym, etymology, and related words
Related
Words
Multiple opportunities for interaction with the new
word will allow each student to find
understanding in his unique way.
Comprehension
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Find a synonym
Why?
 Synonyms can provide a new label for a
known concept.
How?

Synonyms should be consistent in part of
speech; however, teachers should recognize
students’ developmental stages as they move
toward that consistency.

Pull synonyms from the definition, context,
prior knowledge, or etymology.

Do not just copy one from a thesaurus.
The Not Box
Comprehension
Why?
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

Find an antonym
“Polarity is located at the deepest and
most abstract level of the semantic
network.” (Powell, 1986)
Definition by contrast
How?

Provide an opportunity to reinforce
negative prefixes. (Hennings, 2000)

Many words do not have antonyms, but a
non-example works well to establish
polarity. (Frayer, 1969)
Finding antonyms
Three types of antonyms
 Mutually exclusive

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

singular/plural
husband/wife
Graduation



The Not Box
icy/scalding
emaciated/obese
Undo


buy/sell
wrap/unwrap
Powell, “Teaching vocabulary through opposition.” Journal of Reading
29.7 617-621.
Comprehension
Create a synonym and antonym

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



cleave
benign
frolic
arrange
suitable





destination
nourishment
sufficient
often
prohibit
Comprehension
Etymology and Morphology
Related
Words
What is etymology?
Etymology is the study of the
history and structure of words.
When we study etymology we
learn the origins of words.
Comprehension
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Why?
Teach etymology

Nearly 70% of multisyllabic words in
English come from Greek and Latin
roots.

Roots and affixes link new words to
background knowledge.

Suffixes reveal the part of speech.
How?

Provide an opportunity to discover
prefixes, suffixes and roots.

Tell the stories of words.
Etymology
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The Structure and History of Words
An inflection: internal or external change
in a word form which signifies some
addition to or change in a word to denote
a modification in meaning.
A derivation: a tracing of the meaning
and formation of a word to its origin.
Etymology
The Structure and History of Words
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Inflections: secede, secession, succeed,
success, intercede, intercession,
precede, preceding, recede, receding,
receded, exceed, proceed, procedure,
precession, process, concede,
concession...
All of the cede words originated from the
same Latin root meaning to go or to yield.
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Etymology
The Vocabulary
Etymology - etymos: true, actual,
real
logos: word, speech
Inflections - flectare: to bend, turn
Derivation - riva: stream
Language - lingua: tongue,
language
Etymology
Composition and Derivation of English Words
Four Divisions:
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1. Primitive/Primary Words: words that cannot
be resolved into simpler elements (man, horse,
run)
2. Derivative Words: words which consist of
significant parts which exist either separately
or in other combinations (man-ly, man-hood)
3. Compound Words: words consisting of two or
more parts, each a significant word in itself
(apple-tree, tea-spoon)
4. Hybrid Words: words with elements from
different languages (gentleman, footsteps)
Etymology
wordsalive
The Vocabulary:
Affixes:
Prefixes: intensify or negate
enlarge, commingle, redo, misquote
Suffixes - show part of speech or number
dog/dogs
internal/internally/intern/internist/
internalize/ internalization
The Stories of Words
Etymology
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Do you know where the word italics comes from?
We use italics frequently, but do we know its
origin?
The name for the slanted form of type comes
from Aldus Manutius, an Italian printer who
published the first book with this kind of type
in 1501. The book, a work by Virgil, was
dedicated “To Italy” and subsequently, other
printers, publishers, and writers began
referring to the unique type as “Italian” and
eventually in English, “italics.”
The Word Origin Calendar, (2000, October 5) Accord Publishing.
Etymology
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Recent Journal Article
“Learning clusters of words that share a common
origin helps students understand content area
material.”
Dorothy Grant Hennings
“Contextually relevant word study: Adolescent
vocabulary development across the
curriculum”
Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 44:3
November 2000 pages 268-279
Etymology
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Date: Fri Jan 21 00:04:25 EST 2000
Subject: A.Word.A.Day--enormity
Address: [email protected]
Enormity (I-NOR-mi-tee) noun
1. The quality of passing all moral bounds;
excessive wickedness or outrageousness.
2. A monstrous offense or evil; an outrage.
3. (Usage Problem) Great size; immensity.
What is Morphology?
Morphology is the study of the
building blocks of words.
A morpheme is the smallest unit
of meaning into which a word
can be broken.
Comprehension
Related words/ Word Families
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



Why?
“For every word a child learns … there are
an average of one to three additional
words…”(Baumann and Kameenui, 1991)
Links new words to students’ background
knowledge.
Facilitates decoding through chunking.
How?
Find the root or the affix and use it in
another word from the students’
repertoires.
Comprehension
Etymology and Morphology
polygon
poly - many
gon - angle
Greek noun
polytheism
polyphony
Related words
antonym
Word families
synonym
eponym
anonymous
synonymous
homonym
anonymity
contronym
onym
Build your own family of words.
Related words
Word families
Related Words - Word Families
wordsalive
Build your own family of words.
aud
chron
graph
photo
port
therm
bi
dict
ject
plex
scribe
vis,vid
bio
duce
phone
poly
sect
voc
99 syllables
From Brain Food: games that make kids think by Paul Fleisher
1. Display a list of 99 syllables which have been
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generated ahead of time from a group of
interesting words.
2. Allow participants 15 minutes to reassemble the
words into the original list.
3. Read aloud in alphabetical order the original
words with the number of syllables, and assign
one point for each syllable reassembled
correctly.
4. For an easier variation of the game, use a
smaller number of syllables.
45 morphemes
wordsalive
a morphology game adapted from 99 syllables in Brain
Food: games that make kids think by Paul Fleisher
alpha
cogn
gener
ize
pol
ant
com
hens
lab
pol
ar
con
ic
logy
pre
ate
de
ing
morph
re
ation
di
intro
multi
rect
ary
duce
ion
non
s
bet
eme
ity
onym
syl
bul
etymo
ive
para
text
cod
extra
ize
phrase
voca
45 morphemes
A morphology game adapted from 99 syllables in Brain
Food: games that make kids think by Paul Fleisher
wordsalive
Answers
alphabetize
introduce
antonym
morpheme
comprehension
multisyllabic
contexts
nondirective
decoding
paraphrase
etymology
polarity
extrapolate
recognize
generation
vocabulary
Decoding: Unlocking the
pronunciation
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Insurmountability
Steps by chunking:
1. Start with the suffix(es).
2. Proceed to the prefix(es).
3. Tackle the root.
4. Slide it all together.
In sur mount abil ity
Will the Wordsalive Map move students to
the deepest level of word knowledge ?
Baumann and Kameenui’s three levels of word knowledge
1. Association: with a single definition or context
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2. Comprehension: broad understanding and
ability to use, classify or identify the opposite
3. Generation: ability to produce a novel response
According to Janis Harmon, moving from comprehension to
generation takes time, effort, discussion, classification and
usage. Help students pause and reflect before generating
novel responses. Postpone the last steps of the map until
comprehension can develop.
Generation
Draw
a picture?
Why?

A picture is worth a thousand
words.

A personal clue helps the student
internalize a new word.
How?

Anything goes.
We learn more when we are self-involved.
Generation
Create the caption
Why?

Writing an original sentence helps
the student internalize a new
word.
How?

Use the word in any of its forms.
We learn more when we are self-involved.
How do we select the vocabulary
to teach to students?
Michael Graves asks four important questions:
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1. Is understanding the word important to
understanding the selection in which it
appears?
2. Are students able to use the context or
structural analysis to discover the word’s
meaning?
3. Can working with this word be useful in
furthering student’s context, structural
analysis, or dictionary skills?
4. How useful is this word outside of the reading
“A Vocabulary Program to Complement and Bolster a Middle-Grade
selection
being taught?
Comprehension Program.” (2000). Reading for Meaning 116-135.
Does Wordsalive include all the
characteristics of good vocabulary
instruction?
Eileen Carr and Karen Wixson provide four
guidelines for evaluating vocabulary instruction.
wordsalive
Students should:

relate new vocabulary to background knowledge.

develop elaborated word knowledge.

be actively involved in learning.

develop strategies for acquiring vocabulary
independently.
Guidelines for evaluating vocabulary instruction (1986) Journal of Reading,
29.7, 558-595.
Alternate Wordsalive Map
WORD
Parts of sentences(s) from the book which
reveal the context
Definitions
Dictionary
Guessed
Synonym
Antonym
Sketch
Paraphrased
Etymolog
y P.O.S.
Related
words
Caption
Alternate Wordsalive Map
Alternate Wordsalive Map
…into the deafening, paralyzing, horrifying
dive…suddenly right back in the middle of the
buffeting layer of cacophonous flak...
pain
discordant
harsh, discordant
sounds
harmonious
noise
caco - harsh
phonesound ous -
cacophony
phonics
lots of
Greek, adj.
The band room was full of
cacophonous sounds as the
members warmed up before
the director arrived.
Linear Wordsalive Map
Word ______________________________
Sentence________________________________________________________________
__
Guessed definition
________________________________________________________
Dictionary definition ______________________________________________________
Paraphrased definition ____________________________________________________
Synonym _______________ Antonym or non-example_________________________
Etymology and P.O.S. ____________________________
Related words _________________________________
Caption _____
____________
____________
____________
____________
____________
wordsalive
Let’s Revisit the
Brainstorm

Will the wordsalive map help your
students learn new material?

Will the wordsalive map complement your
existing vocabulary methods?

Is the wordsalive map an improvement
over vocabulary instruction when you
were a student?
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How will we measure success?

Pre and post vocabulary tests

Teachers’ anecdotal records

Samples of student maps
Wordsalive
wordsalive
A Vocabulary Acquisition Program
for Middle Schools
Vocabulary development is
every teacher’s
responsibility
www.pen.k12.va.us
wordsalive
Implementation Plan
SIMULATION #3
wordsalive
Find a new partner.

Using a wordsalive map, choose a
word from the list to map with your
partner.

Take a short break.

Share, discuss, and ask questions.
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Word list for mapping
civilization
convert
beneficial
computation
digest
conscious
emancipation
erode
incredible
hypothesis
insulate
prominent
inclusion
prediction
unconstitutional
polytheism
reproduce
static
vernacular
satisfy
villainous
Created by
Rebecca Count-Kahilla Montgomery County Public
Schools
Joyce Johnston Tazewell County Public Schools
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Catherine Rosenbaum Virginia Department of Education
Dennis Wimer Henrico Distant Learning Network
Scholarly review by
Janis Harmon University of Texas at San Antonio
Piloted by the faculty at
Spratley Middle School in Hampton, Virginia
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