Vocabulary Instruction and the Common Core Vignette Professional

Vocabulary Instruction and the Common Core Vignette
Vocabulary and the Common Core
A focus on vocabulary instruction is a natural extension of the Common Core State Standards’ emphasis
on text complexity, close reading and writing from sources. In fact, mastery of vocabulary is integrated
throughout the standards, reminding us that our students need to do more than just learn the
definitions of words; they need to be able to read, write, speak and comprehend new vocabulary. If we
as English Language Arts teachers are going to challenge our students to read more complex texts and
analyze them on multiple levels, we must be prepared to facilitate a growth in their academic and
specific content vocabulary, while challenging them to grapple with complex texts.
Through this vignette, teachers will gain an understanding of the three levels of vocabulary instruction
and understanding. The teachers will find insight into creating vocabulary –rich lessons as well as
understanding the importance of explicit instruction of academic vocabulary.
Learning Outcomes
By the end of the vignette, teachers will be able to differentiate between Tiers 1, 2 and 3 words.
Curriculum Alignment
This vignette aligns with many of the Common Core standards, as vocabulary is common strand
throughout all of the Common Core State Standards. (See DPI LiveBinder Self-Study for details.)
Professional Development Time Required
Videos and activities related to this vignette will take about an hour. Additional follow-up time should be
provided for teachers to create lessons which align their vocabulary instruction to the Common Core.
Like subject planning time, such as PLC meetings should be given to allow teachers to determine which
words are essential to their courses.
Materials Needed
Copy of the Common Core
Vignette: Vocabulary and the Common Core
Discussion About Standards
Standards Progression
Shift #1: Building Knowledge through Content-Rich Non-Fiction & Informational Texts
Shift #2: Using Evidence
Shift #3: Regular Practice with Complex Text and Its Academic Vocabulary
Choosing Text
Lesson Design
Scaffolding Discussion
Text Dependent Questions
1. Before using the vignette, have teachers . . . (insert activity such as review/read a
section of the Common Core, review a document on DPI LiveBinder, etc.)
2. View Roundtable discussion
3. Using the talking points below, have teachers continue the roundtable discussion adding
points, questioning, connecting, etc.
How does word maturity affect our students’ abilities to read, speak, listen and
How do we determine which academic vocabulary is necessary for our students
to learn?
What is a strategy you use for helping students understand the semantic
relationships between words?
How can we help students understand the importance of word choice in author’s
Vocabulary is seen in six different places in the standards. What does that tell us
about the importance of vocabulary instruction?
4. End discussion by asking teachers to think about ways they can / need to incorporate
new ideas into their classrooms
5. Watch the “in-action” piece
6. Discuss “in-action” Questions for in-action piece will follow recording of this piece.
Vocabulary instruction continues to be an element of teaching the Common Core State
Standards which is difficult for me. I struggle to determine which words are truly the most
important for students to learn. This skill is one that I need to continue to work on as I
incorporate vocabulary instruction in my classroom.
Prior to this school year, my school’s focus on vocabulary instruction was simply a test-prep
kind of vocabulary program. While I see the importance of this kind of preparation, I also know
that we were doing a disservice to many of our students. I have begun to think about
vocabulary instruction as one more element I need to integrate into all aspects of my teaching.
I have also started to spend more time with academic vocabulary, specifically questioning
words. I believe that continued work with these standards will provide my students with the
opportunity to build their working vocabulary in ways I have not provided them before.
Opportunity for Extension
7. Read reflection
8. Make a change / incorporate new learning into their classrooms
9. Write reflection / blog / come back together to reflect on process / implementation /
Professional development coordinators should feel free to add to or subtract from structured activities
according to available time.
Author Info
Jasmine Hart is a National Board Certified Teacher who has been teaching English and English as a
Second Language since 1999. She has taught English I, English II, Structured Writing, English III, African
American Studies and Theater Arts during her career. Jasmine serves as the English Co-Department
Chair at her school, and works as a local association representative. She works with the theater
department at school and is the book club advisor. She was first introduced to the Common Core State
Standards about 2 years ago. Her most recent work has been working with the North Carolina
Department of Instruction as a Kenan Fellow. This collection of professional development vignettes is
the product of that work.