Friday, March 29, 2013

Academic Vocabulary and Haiku Deck

What is 'Academic Vocabulary'?

Why should academic vocabulary be explicitly taught?
  • to build students' background knowledge on a concept (not just for English learners)
  • because some academic words have multiple meanings, depending on the context (ex: table, root, line...)
  • to prepare students to read, hear or speak about a new concept
  • because understanding important words related to a new concept can help students make connections to prior learning and/or the world around them

Here's some of the research behind academic vocabulary:
Source: Pennsylvania Department of Education,
"Effective Practices for Teaching Academic Vocabulary"

Marzano's Six Steps to Effective Vocabulary Instruction:

How can technology be used to facilitate and enhance academic vocabulary teaching and learning?

In my experience, a number of edtech apps and resources become powerful tools when partnered with Marzano's Six Steps (listed above).  

One of my new favorites that I'd like to highlight for you is Haiku Deck - a free iPad app that allows you to create powerful presentations using a few words and Creative Commons images.

My first experience using Haiku Deck with my English learners was when I created an illustrated WW2 vocabulary game to use with a group of 6th graders.  Each slide contains a vocabulary word and related image, and students went head-to-head in an around the world-type game to see who could be the first to provide the correct definition for a given word.  They loved it, and will be creating their own vocabulary games using Haiku Deck for a review next week.

Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app for iPad

My second experience with Haiku Deck was structured around homophones and the Frayer Model for vocabulary development.  A 4th grade teacher and I met this past week to plan for a new unit, and we realized how powerful it would be to have students extend and share their learning of homophones by creating Haiku Decks with Frayer Model squares for each slide.

Here's a sample Frayer Model:
And here's how we turned it into a Haiku Deck:

Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app for iPad

Check out the tutorial I made for this lesson on for the screencasted explanation of my Haiku Deck: Homophone Vocabulary:

We are really looking forward to having our students create and share their own homophone vocabulary Haiku Decks this week!

How have you used Haiku Deck?

What are some other effective apps / resources you use to teach academic vocabulary?

Please share your ideas, comments and questions in the comments below!