Apprenticing Adolescents Into The
Language Of Our Discipline
Academic Language and the Common Core
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Purpose of this Session
“I realized I needed to stop telling students the
meaning of important words and ideas in my English
class. And, academic language, for us, hasn’t been
about looking up unknown vocabulary or me telling
students how to understand the text. To me, it became
a way of guiding students towards a critical
understanding of how language is used in texts and
then helping them mimic what authors do—use
intentional language to convey powerful ideas.”
Sarah
10th Grade English Teacher
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Purpose of this Session
Participants will be able to:
•
•
•
Identify the academic language demands of the
NY 9-12 ELA curriculum modules.
Determine which academic language to scaffold
for students.
Identify and design teaching practices that
support adolescent ownership of academic
language.
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Agenda for this Session
Topic
Time
Academic language and Module 11.1
10 Minutes
Identifying the words to teach
35 minutes
Analyzing a lesson/deepening
vocabulary instruction
Reflection and Closing
35 minutes
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5 minutes
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Academic Language
• Knowledge of the language of a discipline is
necessary for student success in a subject.
• Words work differently in different disciplines
(e.g., “function,”)
• Each discipline has their own set of words to
represent their valued concepts and literacy
processes.
Antonacci & O’ Callaghan (2011)
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Module 11.1: O What a Noble Mind is Here
O’erthrown!”
Unit 1
“My Last Duchess”
by Robert Browning
Unit 2
Hamlet by
William Shakespeare
(6 Lessons)
(24 Lessons)
Unit 3
“A Room of One’s
Own” by
Virginia Woolf
(9 Lessons)
• Key skills: reading closely, learning vocabulary
through context, annotating, using evidence in
writing and discussion.
• Introduces students to literary and nonfictions
texts
• Provides students opportunities to practice
independent writing assessments
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Focus on Knowledge of Language
• CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.11-12.3

Apply knowledge of language to understand how
language functions in different contexts, to make
effective choices for meaning or style, and to
comprehend more fully when reading or listening.
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Focus on Vocabulary
Acquisition and Use
• CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.11-12.4

Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and
multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grades
11–12 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a
range of strategies.
• CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.11-12.5

Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word
relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
• CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.11-12.6

Acquire and use accurately general academic and
domain-specific words and phrases, sufficient for
reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college
and career readiness level.
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How to Build Academic Language
• Make It Intentional

Select high-leverage, meaningful vocabulary for explicit,
student-centered, instruction.
• Make It Transparent

Make vocabulary instruction explicit through effective
questioning, modeling, and instruction that builds
understanding of the word AND the text.
• Make It Useable

Provide regular opportunities for students to practice with
high-leverage vocabulary in writing tasks and in discussion
about text.
• Make It Personal

Provide a volume, and variety of independent reading that
includes both fiction and non-fiction texts.
(adapted from Fisher, 2008)
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MAKING IT INTENTIONAL:
IDENTIFYING THE WORDS TO
TEACH
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Two Aspects of Vocabulary
Context


Words students can figure out from content
Words for which the definition needs to be
provided
Amount of Instructional Time


Words that need more time: abstract, have
multiple meanings, and/or are a part of a word
family
Words that need less time: concrete or describe
events/processes/ideas/concepts/experiences
that are familiar to students
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Meaning Needs to
Be Provided
Meaning Can be
Determined from
Context
“My Last Duchess” (Sample)
These words merit less time and
attention
These words merit more time and
attention
dowry
terrace
design
lessoned
object
forsooth
munificence
warrant
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Misconception Alert!
• License to ignore some words doesn’t mean
ignore ALL words.
• Select words critical to understanding the text.
• Select words critical to the disciplinary
thinking we do with text.
• Spending time on words doesn’t mean
copying dictionary definitions
• Commit to text-based word work
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Try This: Text Analysis
• Vocabulary Analysis of A Room of One’s Own




Read the excerpt.
Annotate for vocabulary words potentially
challenging to your students.
Share your list with a partner.
In pairs, prioritize your words by placing your
annotated words on the blank Academic
Vocabulary Quadrant Chart.
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MAKING IT TRANSPARENT AND
USEFUL: ANALYZING A LESSON
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How to Build Academic Language

Make it Intentional
• Select high-leverage, meaningful vocabulary for
explicit, yet student-centered, instruction

Make it Transparent
• Make vocabulary instruction explicit through effective
questioning, modeling, and instruction that builds
understanding of the word AND the text.

Make it Useable
• Provide regular opportunities for students to practice
with high-leverage vocabulary in writing tasks and in
discussion about text.

Make It Personal
• Provide a volume, and variety of independent reading
that includes both fiction and non-fiction texts.
(adapted from Fisher, 2008)
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Transparent Approaches
• Effective questioning of the language in
the text:
•
•
•
Open-ended
Text-dependent
Analyzes word relationships
• Explicit modeling of textual analysis.
MISCONCEPTION ALERTS: Questioning and
modeling aren’t “transmitting.” Students must
do the work of learning.
(Marzano & Pickering 2005; Nagy, 1989; Nagy & Scott, 2000; Paribakht & Wesche, 1997)
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Useable Approaches
• Using high-leverage vocabulary in writing
tasks

Quick write prompts, collaborative writing tasks,
assessments
• Use high-leverage vocabulary in
discussion tasks
• Discuss language use
MISCONCEPTION ALERTS: Writing and talking about
vocabulary does not mean writing and reciting
definitions. Use vocabulary to think, write, and
talk about the text.
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Try This: Looking at Instruction
• Look at the sample lesson 11.1.3 Lesson 1 in your
packet.
• Read the lesson, looking for examples of transparent
and useful practices.
• Talk with a partner:

What did you notice about the intentional selection
of high-leverage vocabulary?

How was instruction transparent using questioning
and modeling to support students?

How was writing and discussion used to provide
students with opportunities to use high-leverage
vocabulary?
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Try This: Adapting Curriculum
Work with a partner to design additional
vocabulary learning for this excerpt.
• Make it Intentional: What other high-leverage,
meaningful vocabulary could be selected for explicit,
student-centered instruction?
• Make it Transparent: How else could you use
effective questioning and modeling to build
understanding of the word AND the text?
• Make it Useable: How else could you provide
opportunities for students to practice with new
vocabulary in writing tasks and in discussion about
text?
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MAKING IT PERSONAL:
SUPPORTING A VOLUME OF
INDEPENDENT READING
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Personal Approaches: Accountable
Independent Reading
• Build a volume of reading

Fiction and non-fiction, variety of self-selected
texts
• Create a culture of independent reading

Low impact, accountable, routine
MISCONCEPTION ALERT: Independent doesn’t
mean unaccountable. Have students discuss
texts with the CCSS.
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Reflection and Closing
• How will you use these materials to
support student academic language
development?
• What actions should you take or not take
to support your students’ academic
language in high school ELA
classrooms?
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References
• Anderson, R. C. & Nagy, W. E. (1991).Word meanings. In R. Barr, M. L.
Kamil, P. B. Mosenthal, & P. D. Pearson (Eds.), Handbook of reading
research (Vol. 2, pp. 690–724). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
• Antonacci, P. A. & O’ Callaghan, C. M. (2011). Developing Content Area
Literacy: 40 Strategies for Middle and Secondary Classrooms.
Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
• Armbruster, B. B. (1992). Vocabulary in content area lessons. The
Reading Teacher, 45(7), 550–551.
• Beck, I.L., McKeown, M.G. & Kucan, L. (2002). Bringing Words to Life:
Robust Vocabulary Instruction. New York: The Guilford Press.
• Marzano, R.J., & Pickering. D.J. (2005). Building Academic
Vocabulary: Teacher’s Manual. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.
• Nagy, W. E. (1988). Teaching vocabulary to improve comprehension.
Newark, DE: International Reading Association.
• Nagy,W. E., & Scott, J. A. (2000). Vocabulary processes. In M. Kamil, P.
B. Mosenthal, P. D. Pearson, & R. Barr (Eds.), Handbook of reading
research (Vol. 3, pp. 269–284). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence
Erlbaum.
• Stahl, S.A. (1998). Vocabulary Development. Cambridge, MA: Brookline.
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Online Parking Lot
Please go to
www.engageny.org/resource/network-teaminstitute-materials-february-4-7-2014
and select “Online Parking Lot” for any
NYSED related questions.
Thank You!
CONFIDENTIAL – DO NOT CIRCULATE
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Plus/Deltas
Please go to
http://www.engageny.org/resource/networkteam-institute-materials-february-4-7-2014
and fill out the Plus/Delta for today’s session.
Thank You!
CONFIDENTIAL – DO NOT CIRCULATE
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Vocabulary, Text Complexity, and Content Understanding