TRT Podcast#21: Vocabulary quick win
“Example/Non-Example” is an easy way to help your students nail down new vocabulary words. Listen in so you can add this trick to your toolbox!
Listen to the episode here
Full episode transcript
Hello, and welcome back to our Quick Win series. Today we're going to look at a very simple way that you can help your students understand new vocabulary.
This is called "Example/Non-Example," and it's from the book "Bringing Words To Life," which I highly recommend, by Beck, McKeown, and Kucan. At the very end of the book there's a menu of instructional activities, they call it, which is just a selection of different things you can do to help students master vocabulary along with examples. I'm going to share with you their "Example/Non-Example" method of helping students understand vocabulary.
Let's say the new vocabulary word is "anxious." You would say, "If I say something that might make you feel anxious, say 'anxious.' If not, don't say anything."
Your examples could be learning to do something new, getting a piece of candy from your dad. The first one would be anxious, and the second one, of course, they would say nothing.
Another variation on this activity would be to add a little creativity to how students indicate their response. So you might say, "If any of the things I say are things that could make you feel anxious, I want you to gasp. If not do nothing."
Another variation that we use quite often asks students to choose which of the two alternatives illustrate the word. So you could say, "Which might make you anxious? Diving off a diving board for the first time or buying a new swimsuit?" Now, for me personally, buying a new swimsuit would make me anxious, but I don't think that's going to be too much of an issue for our young students.
Another variation of "Example/Non-Example" asks students to choose, which of two target words represents a situation. So in this case, you're actually working with TWO vocabulary words that you've taught.
Let's say that some of the words we've taught in this lesson are "anxious" and "jubilant." So you might say, "If you just got $20 in a birthday card, would you be anxious or jubilant?"
So those are some examples of how to do "Example/Non-Example." And again, the back of the book "Bringing Words To Life" has many other ideas for making vocabulary stick, so I would for sure check that out, but I hope you'll try "Example/Non-Example" the next time you teach a new vocabulary word.
I'll see you next week for another Quick Win episode. You can find the show notes for this episode at themeasuredmom.com/episode21.
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- Bringing Words to Life, by Beck, McKeown, and Kucan