Now that I’ve had some time to process the data from the word frequency analysis, I’ve put together some thoughts on how we can use this information.
We know that the most effective vocabulary instruction is taught in context and embedded in learning. Teachers should not use this analysis to create vocabulary lists for students to memorize in isolation. The primary use of this tool is awareness about the assessments and to inform instruction.
For instance, in 8th grade Social Studies, we know now that we may not need to be concerned about whether or not students know the word “abundant” or “abundance” as these words have only appeared 4 times in 3 years. For words with lower frequency, students will need to use context clues. However, the term “colonial” and associated terms like, “colonies,” “colonist,” “colonization,” “colonize,” and “colony” have appeared 46 times in 3 years. With such a high frequency, it is worth our time to ensure students know the meaning and have seen some of the various forms of the word prior to testing.
Awareness of word forms is especially important for our ELL students and those with learning difficulties. Knowing which forms have been used can help teachers enrich the language they use with students and design writing and reading prompts which encourage the use of multiple forms of the word. Here is an example of a cartoon students or teachers could create to use the different word forms. Pixton is a super easy, free comic or storyboard maker!
Please share any other suggestions on how to use this resource in the comments!
Here is the presentation and handouts from my Victorious Vocabulary: Winning the War on Words session at the Texas Council for the Social Studies conference in Galveston.
Research and Strategies: