chapter  Chapter 5
16 Pages

Use Content Area Vocabulary in Meaningful Ways

WithLori G. Wilfong

“I have to show you this,” the teacher said, coming up to me during a break of a professional development session. He hoisted his laptop onto the table and scrolled through a document on his screen. “I was literally just listening to you say that we shouldn’t assign words for students to just look up definitions of and feeling bad because that is what I left for my substitute.” I nodded and smiled, appreciating the honesty. “Well, my students are turning in their definitions via Google Classroom and look what this one kid did.” We both examined the screen. I realized I was reading the vocabulary words in English but seeing the definitions in Spanish. I looked up at the teacher: “Oh, is she learning English?” He shook his head ‘no’ emphatically: “No, she was paying so little attention to what she was doing that she copied the Spanish definitions in the back of the book instead of the English.” He closed the laptop with a snap. “Obviously, this isn’t a good strategy for helping them learn my vocabulary terms.”