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Vocabulary Notebooks/Journals

Vocabulary Notebooks/Journals
Individual vocabulary notebooks invite students to strengthen their word
    knowledge and internalize meaning for use throughout their lives. Robert J.
Marzano, in his book Building Academic Vocabulary: Teacher’s Manual,
suggests using tabs in the booklets to note different subjects or topics. Having
a dictionary definition is insufficient according to Marzano. He explains that
dictionary definitions are not written in conversational language. As a result, students are unable
to internalize meaning.
Dictionary definitions may be more helpful after a basic understanding of the word’s meaning is
established. Marzano recommends that words be defined using “student friendly” language. He
suggests including a nonlinguistic representation of the word or its meaning whenever possible.
Steps:
1. Direct students to identify unknown words, confusing words, or interesting words while
they  read and discuss a unit or topic. As students identify words, they write them in their
vocabulary notebook.
2. Require students to list the exact sentence in which the word appears in the text.
3. After students have written the text definition, ask them to create definitions using their own
words (not a dictionary definition).
Adaptations:
• Consider assigning students to include a list of antonyms or synonyms.
• Assign students to include a picture, drawing, or symbol, if appropriate.
• Words in the News: Assign students to make a list of vocabulary words from a newspaper,
magazine, or other current event resource. Then students choose one or more of the words
that are of interest to them to include in their journal and why they chose it.
• Refer to On Target: Strategies to Guide Student Learning, During Reading: Concept
Definition Map, Pages 14-15.
• Word Dictionary: To help students develop a deeper understanding of a topic or unit, assign
them to make a list of words that may relate to the broad topic or unit. The students place
the words in alphabetical order and then define the words. A picture or guide words may
also be included

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