Monday, April 19, 2010

Excerpt from Pauline Gibbons Book:

The sociocultural approach to learning recognizes that with assistance, learners can reach beyond what they can read unaided, participate in new situations, and take on new roles. This assisted performance is encapsulated in Vygotsky's notion of the zone of proximal development, or ZPD, which desribes the "gap" between what learners can do alone and what they can do with help from someone more skilled. This situated help is often known as "scaffolding" (Gibbons 2002).

Scaffolding, in the way it is used here, has three major characteristics:

A) It is temporary help that assists a learner to move toward new concepts, levels of understanding, and new language.

B) It enables a learner to know how to do something (not just what to do), so that they will be better able to complete similar tasks alone.

C) It is future orientated: in Vygotsky's words, what a learner can do with support today, he or she will be able to do alone tomorrow.

Scaffolding is therefore teacher support in action, and is the core learning and teaching for autonomy (Mariani 1997).

Excerpt from Bringing Words to Life: Robust Vocabulary Instruction

Recall that Tier One consists of the most basic words- clock, baby, happy- rarely requiring instruction in school. Tier Three includes words whose frequency of use is quite low, often being limited to specific domains- isotope, lathe, peninsula- and probably best learned when needed in a content area. Tier Two words are high frequency words for mature language users- coincidence, absurd, industrious- and thus instruction in these words can add productively to an individual's language ability.

Some Criteria for Identifying Tier Two Words
A) Importance & Utility: Words that are characteristic of mature language users and appear frequently across a variety of domains.
B) Instructional potential: Words that can be worked with in a variety of ways so that students can build rich representations of them and their connections to other words and concepts.
C) Conceptualized understanding: Words for which students understand the general concept but provide precision and specificity in describing the concept.

Return to our first blog post and look at the excerpt you selected to use for a mentor text. In that same excerpt notice the number of Tier One, Tier Two and Tier Three words used to construct the mentor text itself. Then complete the following exercise in this week's blog post:

1) Copy the mentor text you posted last week into your new blog post so that we can see it in this week's post. (If you feel like last week's post doesn't have any Tier Two words for you to use then feel free to post a new excerpt- no longer than one paragraph)

2) Choose between 3 to 5 Tier Two from the mentor text you posted last week.

3. Create student friendly explanations (not from the dictionary) for the words you selected. Try to include the words something, someone, or describes in your explanation.


  1. "...not by any stretch of the Zeitgeist, or Homeric blindness, is Carrie Bradshaw Helen of Troy. And Sex and the City ain’t a chic, ironic take on Wuthering Heights. These women on the bus are missing the point. The storyville they’re looking for doesn’t exist and never did, and trying to search for the literal in literature inevitably kills the object of affection, murders the fiction stone-dead."
    Vanity Fair. "The Out-of-Towners" (an article describing a Sex and the City tour of New York) A.A. Gill. January 2009.

    2)Tier Two Words: chic, ironic, literal, inevitably, object of affection

    3) Chic is something that is in-style right now. It's an outfit that is fashionable - like something you would see in a fashion magazine.
    Ironic describes a situation where you expected one thing to happen, but the opposite actually happened.
    Literal is the actual meaning of something. To give the opposite example, if I say that I have butterflies in my stomach, that is NOT literal - I don't actually have butterflies in my stomach. I am nervous would be literal.
    Inevitably is describing a situation where a certain outcome is for sure going to happen. For example, we are inevitably going to get out of school on June 10th.
    The object of affection is kind of self-explanatory. It is something that is being focused on in a positive or endearing way. For example, the object of your affection would be your crush or new puppy.

  2. "Sheed owns a beautiful baseline turnaround, but he keeps it in the garage like a covered Ferrari. It's a breathtaking shot. He catches a pass on the left block, whirls effortlessly toward the baseline, pushes off so he's going up (not sideways) and releases the ball well above his head. All in one motion. Nobody can block it.

    Sheed shoots this turnaround once a game. Sometimes twice if we're lucky.

    Sheed's coaches always wish he would "go in the block more often." They never demand it; if they do, they know they won't get it. So it's more of a suggestion. Like reminding your spouse, "Hey, we haven't had sex in a while." If broached the right way, Sheed might shift his focus the next game, with his head down low, and bank home a couple of turnarounds. As though he's acknowledging, "You're right, I could do this." Then he goes back to standing behind the 3-point line."

    -Bill Simmons,

    Tear two words: Breathtaking, effortlessly, suggestion, broach, acknowledge

    Breathtaking - Something that is really beautiful. For example, one might be able to see a breathtaking sunset from Crystal Pier.

    Effortlessly - Something that requires a lot of skill, but can be done very smoothly. For example, a figure skater might glide effortlessly over the ice.

    Suggestion - Something that is done as a way to give a hint. For example, a good history teacher might give a suggestion to his class about which parts of the lesson to review for the test tomorrow.

    Broach - A way that someone can introduce a topic into a conversation. For example, a boy might broach the idea of relationships to a girl he likes to see if she has a boyfriend.

    Acknowledge - The way that someone can admit something. For example, a student might acknowledge that their dog didn't eat their homework and that they just plain forgot to do it.

  3. 1.“Dad staggered in, eyes eerily lit.
    The corners of his mouth foaming spit.
    His demons planned an overnight stay.
    Mom motioned to take the girls away,

    hide them in their rooms, safe in their beds.
    We closed the doors, covered our heads,
    as if blankets could mute the sound of his blows
    or we could silence her screams beneath our pillows.

    I hugged the littlest ones close to my chest,
    till the beat of my heart lulled them to rest.
    Only then did I let myself cry.
    Only then did I let myself wonder why

    Mom didn’t fight back, didn’t defend,
    didn’t confess to family or friend.
    Had Dad’s demons claimed her soul?
    Or was this, as well, a woman’s role?”

    (Burned by Ellen Hopkins page 64)

    2.Tier Two words: staggered, eerily, motioned, mute, lulled

    3.In this passage, staggered means someone not being able to walk straight; almost as if you’re about to fall over, but you don’t. An example would be – After spinning around in the chair, I staggered to my bed.

    Eerily is used to describe something that seems very unusual, creepy, gives you a bad feeling, or seems ghost-like. For example – The old, crumbling house surrounded by dark trees and overgrown bushes, gave me an eerie feeling at night.

    Motioned has several meanings. The meaning of “motioned” in this passage is of someone using a body signal (waving a hand) to get someone’s attention or give a message. For example – My mom raised her hand high in the air so we could all see and motioned for us to come over.

    Mute in this passage means that someone has done something to either turn down a sound or turn it off completely. An example would be – I muted the TV when the phone rang so I could hear what the person has to say.

    Lulled means to calm someone down or make them feel safe and relaxed either by using a sound such as music or a movement like rocking a baby back and forth. For example – Laying in a swaying hammock with the warm sun shining down during the summer always lulls me to sleep.

  4. My last post did not have any tier two words. New excerpt:
    1. “While many of the new American restaurants are streamlining more and more ethnic spots are going glam. Washington has long been an ethnic-food mecca, with some of the country’s best Ethiopian, Vietnamese, Bolivian, and afghan food coming out of the suburban strip malls of Maryland and Virginia. Of late, however, some of the best ethnic cooking in the area can be found in the city, in restaurants that fuse gutsy cooking with stylish settings”
    Cooking Light Magazine, May 2010, Article on Washington D.C.
    2. Tier 2 words: Streamlining, Glam, Mecca, Strip Malls, Fuse
    3. Streamlining: In this passage, streamlining refers to making a restaurant more efficient. Streamlining also refers to having the restaurant work smoothly, like “well-oiled” machines.
    Glam: Glam describes something that is fancy, sometimes over-the-top fancy.
    Mecca: Describes a place that is a center for something in particular, in this case, ethnic-food.
    Strip Malls: Shops that are located along a sidewalk or street in a long “strip” of buildings.
    Fuse: Describes the combination of one or more things, in this case, “gutsy cooking with stylish settings”.

  5. “We are a nation obsessed with evaluating our children, with calibrating their exact distance from some ideal benchmark. In the name of excellence, we test and measure them – as individuals, as a group – and we rejoice or despair over the results. The sad thing is that though we strain to see, we miss so much. All students cringe under the scrutiny, but those most harshly affected, least successful in the competition, possess some of our greatest unperceived riches. Mike Rose

    1. Tier Two Words:Nation, obsessed, evaluating, distance, ideal.

    3."Nation": A nation is a group of people who share history, culture, language or ethnic origin, who typically live in a particular country. For example, here in the US we all consider ourselves under one nation, because we have the same language and we have the same country.

    "Obsessed": In this passage, "obsessed" means to fill the mind too much about someone or something continually.
    For example, person who scared of germs:he became completely obsessed about it. Because that thinking controls his thought.

    "Evaluating" has several meanings. The meaning of “evaluating” in this passage is the measure of children ability. For example, the weekly test evaluate how students would perform.

    "Distance" is the size of the gap between two places or objects. For example,
    I would really distance myself from him because he is a bad man.

    "Ideal" in this passage means the idea of something that is perfect. For example: this class is an ideal opportunity to learn new things.

  6. 1) "...There was a sense in these stories that shopping was a joyous, uplifting enterprise, edifying in ways far beyond purchases made or products handled. Shopping was an emotional, rewarding, and necessary experience.

    The American Culture code for shopping is RECONNECTING WITH LIFE."

    -The Cultural Code by Clotaire Paraille page 158

    2) Tier two: joyous, purchase, necessary, experience

    3) Joyous: Joyous in the paragraph means happy. For example, when someone goes shopping, his/her feeling is joyous.

    Purchase: the same meaning as buy. When we go to supermarket, we usually purchase something we want.

    Necessary: Something is needed. For example, water is necessary for human beings.

    Experience: The events or facts that happened in your life. For example, your classmate discusses his/her travelling experiences to Europe with you. If you have been to Europe, you can share your experience with him/her.

  7. “The first mouthful was electrifying. How ever strange it may seem, I was eating sentences and crunching paragraphs. The books tasted like brownies! Yum! Delicious! But even more astounding, the sensations on my tongue varied from word to word, from paragraph to paragraph. I wasn’t simply absorbing ink; I was absorbing pure and total adventure.” The Ink Drinker, By Eric Sanvoisin pages 31-32.
    Tier Two Words: Electrifying, Astounding, Absorbing
    1. Electrifying describes something that is very exciting or thrilling. Example: It would be electrifying to win the lottery.
    2. Astounding describes a feeling of surprise or shock. Example: It was astounding when he won the spelling bee, because he did not study.
    3. Absorbing is a verb that means to soak in (in the content of this passage, to soak into your mind) or suck up. Example: While watching the history channel, she was absorbing information about the Boston Tea Party. In the Ink Drinker, the boy was literally and figuratively absorbing-or sucking up- the words off the page.

  8. My first excerpt was too short, so I have chosen a new one from the dame book.

    1.) "So here's my first piece of advice to you, and maybe the most important one between these covers: Make glorious mistakes. If you can, try not to make them out of laziness or meanness. Make them instead because you are overreaching your abilities. Make them because you bit off a bit more than you can chew. Make them because they will prove to the world -- and more important to yourself -- that you are striving, and not coasting. Don't be too self-critical; no one who really loves you expects you to be perfect. Count on failing every so often, so when success comes, you'll know you've earned it."

    Introduction to Boys Will Put You on a Pedestal (so they can look up your skirt)

    2.) Advice, Abilities, Glorious, Striving

    3.) advice- Words that others have on how to make your life, problems or situation better.

    abilities- What you are cabaple of doing becuase of the tools or talents you have.

    glorious- Being completely enjoyalble and full of a lot of fun. A word used to tell of a wonderful experience.

    striving- Trying really hard to reach a certain goal becuase you really really want it.

  9. “The isle continues to defend itself against vulnerable people. Even people who once considered the isle to be their home and sense of refuge, such as myself. The isle does not grant citizenship. The isle claims no citizens, yet barbarians have, much to the isle's protest, seeded their roots in its bare fields. The barbarians, adhering to their nomadic nature, continue to roam the land and travel far and free. Palm trees grew, and prune, and olive trees, watered by the tears of the isle's yearning for its past.

    The isle floats alone on the surface of the ocean.

    I float alone.

    Underneath the same dark sky.”

    - Ninnar AlQames

    Vulnerable: A person who is vulnerable is someone who is likely to be harmed or attacked or hurt in some way because they might be weak. For example, a person who is walking alone on the street at night would be vulnerable because someone might attack them.

    Refuge: The state of being safe or protected from danger or some sort of trouble. For example, people who live in countries that are invaded usually seek refuge in other nearby countries.

    Grant: To give someone something or to allow them to do something. For example, your teacher needs to grant you permission to go to the bathroom.

    Yearn: To yearn is to want something very strongly that you don’t have. For example, you may yearn for your family if you live in a different country.

  10. My previous post did not have enough tier two words, so I am posting a new excerpt.

    1) "It was in a bathtub back in New York, reading Italian words aloud from a dictionary, that I first started mending my soul. My life had gone to bits and I was so unrecognizable to myself that I probably couldn't have picked me out of a police lineup. But I felt happiness when I started studying Italian, and when you sense a faint potentiality for happiness after such dark times you must grab onto the ankles of that happiness and not let go until it drags you face-first out of the dirt- this is not selfishness, but obligation."

    ~ Excerpt from the book "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert.

    2) Tier Two words: mending; unrecognizable; potentiality; obligation.

    3) Mending- describes the action of making something that is broken or damaged better. Mending or making something better can refer to an object or a situation. For example, the mother started mending her child's broken toy with glue, which in turn mended the situation and ended the child's crying.

    Unrecognizable- describes something or somebody that cannot be understood or identified, possibly because it or he/she has changed too much. For example, when the college boy decided to dye and cut his hair into a mohawk and tattoo his entire body, he was almost unrecognizable to his family.

    Potentiality- describes possiblity. For example, the sky is overcast with big, dark clouds, so there is a potentiality for rain.

    Obligation- describes something that is required; a duty; or a responsibility that must be followed. For example, it is students' obligation to come to school every day, study, and do their homework.

  11. "I just can't manage to keep my stories straight. Hoping I might learn through repetition, I tried using gender in my everyday English. “Hi, guys,” I’d say, opening a new box of paperclips, or “Hey Hugh, have you seen my belt? I can’t find her anywhere.” I invented personalities for the objects on my dresser and set them up on blind dates. When things didn’t work out with my wallet, my watch drove a wedge between my hairbrush and my lighter. The scenarios reminded me of my youth, when my sisters and I would enact epic dramas with our food. Ketchup-wigged french fries would march across our plates, engaging in brief affairs or heated disputes over carrot coins while burly chicken legs guarded the perimeter, ready to jump in should things get out of hand. Sexes were assigned at our discretion and were subject to change from one night to the next—unlike here, where the corncob and the stringbean remain locked in their rigid masculine roles. Say what you like about southern social structure, but at least in North Carolina a hot dog is free to swing both ways.”

    ~Page 189 of "Me Talk Pretty One Day" by David Sedaris

    1. "To manage": A verb which, in this situation, describes the ability to endure, cope with, or deal with someone or something

    2. "To work out": In this situation, it means to be successful or happen without problems. It can apply to situations or to relationships. If a relationship didn't "work out", it failed for one reason or another.

    3. "Scenario": a situation that is hypothetical or not true, at least yet.

    4. "To engage in": to participate in or involve yourself in something

    5. "Discretion": The power to make decisions based on your own judgment.