Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Moving Away from Ambiguous Word Choices:)

ELLs generally struggle with vocabulary choices when trying complete academic assignments. Overuse of common words with multiple meanings is the frequent choice. You will see a word like BREAK in every other sentence because ELLs don't have an extensive enough language background to supply suitable synonyms for the word. When in doubt, the same word is used repeatedly. On this site, a student clicks on the word he/she is using to see what other choices exist. Each choice selected is equipped with its definition and part of speech to help the student pick the correct form of the word substitution.

A teacher's guidance is a must-have though since finding just the right word will take some practice. To help students remember great word selections, a word wall could be created with possibly 3 columns: column 1 (weak words), column 2 (strong words), column 3 (AWESOME WORDS). Words could be added throughout the week as needed. The list would be kept up all year. If teachers hold on to student writing samples, journals, logs, etc., they will see major growth in student word choice. Students will be amazed at their greatly expanded vocabulary base by the end of the year---guaranteed! :)




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