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.