Uploaded by Garreth Heidt

Creating Vocabulary Field Notes and Field Guides for English Language Arts

Vocabulary Field Notes and
Field Guides
Deep Dives and Ethnographic Research into the lives of bits
of language.
What’s a Field Note?
Each “note” is essentially a one-pager, exploring a
single word from myriad angles. It relies on a
combination of words and images to explore the
nuances of a word’s ecosystem. When we compile
these over the course of the year, we have made a
field guide for language itself.
Why Do Field Notes?
And because students
are engaging with the
word in a variety of
ways, the learning is
more permanent.
Like notes about a rare species of ant,
language field guides help readers and
writers better understand how words
behave: how they work in authentic
sentences, where to find them, what other
words or phrases they hang out with,
what they sound like and how to use them
Creating field guide entries
for words about which
students are curious
requires active learning —
activating prior knowledge,
synthesizing definitions,
evaluating a word’s
etymology, analyzing its
usage. Each entry is a deep
dive, not only into “what does
the word mean” but also “how
has that meaning changed”?
“Why do we use this word?”
What’s in a Field Note?: Must Haves
What’s in a Field Note?--4 Might Haves
How to put a Field Note Together
Look at the examples on slide #2 and the
next slide
2) Use Jamboard or slides: versatile, quick,
keeps your entries pithy. Step it up a
notch with www.canva.com
3) Use the Must haves-include Etymology
4) Use at least four of the “Might haves”
on the previous slide.
Frequency and Due Dates!
After every 10th Word of the Day, you
will have 5 calendar days to create a
new field note
2) In general, you will create two Field
3) You will always add the New Field Notes
as another Jamboard or slide in a deck-Creating a “Field Guide”
More Examples and Attribution
*Most of this comes from the work of Teacher/Writer
Rebekah O’Dell. Her work at “Moving Writers” was
instrumental in getting me thinking about better ways to do
vocabulary, but her write up in the NY Times made it so easy
to implement the idea.