Students who have difficulties with learning new vocabulary words can benefit from this instructional practice.
Have You Ever? is an instructional practice that affords students the opportunity to associate newly learned words with contexts from their own personal experiences.
Before implementing this practice, collect a sample of three to five vocabulary words the students are learning. Then, create prompts that direct students to connect these words with personal experiences.
Here are some example prompts for sample words: “Describe a time when you would (console) a friend who was sad,” “Explain a time when you would (defend) a friend,” “Talk about a time when you were asked to (elaborate) in the classroom,” and “Describe a time when you would (encourage) a teammate.”
Describe the vocabulary words. Today we will talk about new vocabulary words and how they relate to your lives. The new words are… (console, defend, elaborate, encourage).
Present a writing prompt for one of the words to your students. Be sure to provide the students with enough time to write. Younger students (or those who struggle with writing) can orally share what they are thinking or make audio recordings of their answers.
Ask students to share their writing and explain their reasoning. Each student should have an opportunity to share. Students should share with a partner before asking multiple students to share.
Define the new vocabulary word and explain it to the students.
Ask students to rewrite their answer if they did not initially know the meaning of the word.
Repeat the process with each word.
Monitor progress on acquisition of the vocabulary words.
Adapted from: Brown-Chidsey, R., Bronaugh, L., & McGraw, K. (2009). RTI in the classroom: Guidelines and recipes for success. New York: Guilford Press.
Beck, I. L., McKeown, M. G., & Kucan, L. (2002). Bring words to life. New York: The Guilford Press
Bringing Words to Life
Vocabulary Instruction Essentials