Explicit Instruction for Election Vocabulary
Students learn words such as "primary," "campaign," and "ballot."
- Grades: 6–8
- Unit Plan:
Students will use real-world connections to define and understand vocabulary relating to elections. Vocabulary instruction emphasizes building vocabulary word knowledge, comprehension, and word-learning strategies.
- Learn and practice vocabulary.
- Generate examples to reinforce meaning.
- Practice sharing orally.
- Copies of Election Vocabulary List (PDF)
- Paper and pencils
- Collage of election-related newspaper clippings, or print outs from the web
Set Up and Prepare
- Print a class set of the Election Vocabulary List (PDF).
- Optional: Set up a projector for the worksheets, to follow along with during Steps 3-5.
Step 1: Ask students if they know anything about elections. Ask for volunteers to share what they know. Share with them the election news collage you made.
Step 2: Tell students they will learn eight election vocabulary words.
Step 3: Give each student a copy of the Election Vocabulary List (PDF).
Step 4: Read the eight words to the students, one at a time. Have students repeat the word with you. Clap the syllables in each word.
Step 5: Have students rate how well they know each word: 1) they don't know it at all; 2) they've heard of it; or 3) they know it and can use it in a sentence
Introduce each word using the following steps:
- Pronounce the word aloud and ask students to repeat it. Give the part of speech.
- Explain the word's meaning. Then restate the meaning, asking students to complete it with the "Target Word." For example: The place where people vote is called the _________. (polls)
- Provide examples for each word and model an example. Have partners suggest an additional example using a complete sentence. Make a note of those having trouble so you can work with them in a small group.
- Deepen understanding by asking questions that relate each word to students' lives.
- Have students go to two other students and share some of their answers.
Supporting All Learners
Walk around room and allow students to share their work with you so you can make sure they have grasped the new vocabulary. Encourage them to read over this assignment before the next class period.
Write fill in the blank sentences on the board.
Students could generate an informal survey questionnaire (list of questions) to ask their parents or guardians what they think of the presidential or local campaigns and what issues are most important to them. Student could compare information collected.
- Did your students work well together?
- Is there a need to form a small group for re-teaching?
Observe students as they work in pairs to see if they are having difficulty reading the text. As you walk around, make a note of the students that are having problems so you can form a small group to work on comprehension and fluency.
Using a class list, with an attached rubric, make a note of who has met or exceeded standards, and who needs more assistance. Begin to notate which of the students are having similar problems, and begin to make a list for those who could work together on those problems.
At the end of this exercise, have a clear idea of whether the lesson needs to be re-taught, or whether you can simply re-group and re-teach at smaller levels of groupings. Formative assessment helps make explicit what has been taught well, what needs re-teaching, and most importantly, which of the students have learned.