Preparation for the language demands included explicit science vocabulary instruction, including a focus on brick vocabulary (content-specific vocabulary such as ‘momentum’, ‘velocity’ that communicate scientific concepts) and a focus on mortar vocabulary (functional and general utility vocabulary such as ‘if…then,’ ‘because of,’ ‘first…, second…, finally’ that communicate scientific relationships).
Brick vocabulary instruction included a weekly introduction of 6 to 8 new vocabulary words on Monday followed by daily 10-15 minute games (picture match, charades, jeopardy, card [definition match] games) and writing activities (spelling pyramid, sentence generation) throughout the week, concluding with a quiz on Friday. These explicit vocabulary instruction practices build on Marzano and Pickering’s (2005) framework and on recommendations found at the U.S. Department of Education sponsored website, Doing What Works.
These activities are showcased by classroom vignettes (below) and supporting handout materials.
Mortar vocabulary instruction focused on explicitly introducing a language function (e.g., cause & effect) using a sentence frame (‘when ______, _____then’) followed by application activities (paraphrase, sentence generation, sentence combination) within the science topic (“Safety” unit for High School and “Earth and Space” unit for Middle School).
These activities are showcased with sample curricular materials).
Introducing a weekly set of 6 to 8 new (brick) terms: Monday (explicit vocabulary instruction)
Showcasing weekly vocabulary games and activities