Why Teach Multiple Meaning Words?

A student with a language disorder walks into a regular education classroom where he or she is bombarded with multi-step teacher directions in a fast paced classroom. The student struggles to get out all the materials for the first academic subject much less comprehend what the teacher is saying. “Students, get out your math book and journal. Turn to page 25 and write your name on the right hand side of the next blank page in your practice journal. Our class is going to spend the next hour learning about measurements and we are going to measure and record the size of  our hands, feet, and height. We will use a ruler, yard stick, and tape measure to record the inches and feet.” Student A says “awesome, I’m going to have a ball because I’m the tallest kid!!” Student B says”huh?” “I thought we were going to make and record a song!!” Teacher….blank stare!!

Now imagine that some of the students in the class are also bilingual and are learning English. However, they don’t have a solid foundation in their primary language and they are language disordered. They would be confused by the teacher’s lengthy instructions and most likely not understand several of the vocabulary words. These students struggle processing and understanding  a variety of language concepts including multiple meaning vocabulary.

Students who have language disorders often need direct vocabulary instruction with multiple meanings. The speech language pathologist is key to providing this instruction. Most elementary school students are familiar with the terms: homonyms, homophones, and homographs. However, they easily confuse the meanings and need plenty of receptive and expressive language practice with examples of these words.

In my speech language therapy sessions, I instruct my students on the 2 categories of homonyms or multiple meaning words. Then, I take baseline data to see what words they understand and can effectively use in a sentence. I suggest:
 http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Multiple-Meanings-Vocabulary-Baseline-Progress-Check-Data-Forms

Then I provide multiple opportunities to practice increasing their vocabulary skills with a variety of activities and learning games. I have my students practice verbally describing 2 meanings of the target terms and I provide verbal and visual prompts as needed. I also like using cloze sentence (fill in the blank) tasks or semantic absurdities activities in which students have to correctly identify/name the correct homonym.
Here is a list of some of the activities and resources I use to address developing
this skill:

1. Go for the Dough Board Game by Super Duper
My students love this activity and it addresses multiple meaning words , synonyms, antonyms, categories, and more.
2. Homophones Photo Fun Deck by Super Duper
3.Homographs Fun Deck by Super Duper
4. Multiple Meanings Deck and Homonyms Photo Fun Deck by Super Duper
5.Homophones I PAD application by AbiTalk
6.Bluster I PAD application by McGraw Hill Center for Digital Innovation
My students are always eager to participate in the homophones activities. There are also fun activities to target word roots, prefixes, suffixes, synonyms, rhyming words, and adjectives.
7.No Glamour Vocabulary book by Linguisystems
This book has great worksheets for guided practice and homework review. I tend to use worksheets after the skill has been practiced orally in therapy a few times.
8.Numerous SLP created products available at : teacherspayteachers.com

What additional resources or methods do you find successful with teaching multiple meaning words?

EVIDENCE BASED PRACTICE:

Johnson, C., Ionson, M., and Torreiter, S. (1997) state that direct vocabulary instruction in the area of multiple meaning words is essential for successful comprehension of spoken and written language. In their study, the research results  indicated that children with language learning difficulties  are able to provide adequate verbal definitions when target meanings were presented in sentence context compared to tasks that did not provide a context. How should I use this knowledge in my classroom? SLPs and teachers should directly teach vocabulary and provide opportunities for students to practice their word knowledge using context clues in sentences. 

Reference

Johnson, C., Ionson, M., and Torreiter, S (1997). Assessing children’s knowledge of multiple meaning words. American Journal of Speech Language Pathology. (6) 77-86. 

Thanks for visiting the blog today! 🙂

Why Teach Word Associations?

As speech-language pathologists, we recognize the significance of  providing direct vocabulary instruction for students who have language impairments on a weekly basis. Students need to improve their receptive and expressive vocabulary skills so that they can improve their functional communication, listening comprehension, reading comprehension, and overall understanding of their grade level curriculum.
Teaching word associations is essential to students’ vocabulary acquisition and understanding of word relationships.

What are the advantages of teaching word associations?

1) increases receptive and expressive vocabulary skills
2) increases students’ abilities to understand and explain similarities/differences
3) prerequisite skill for students to understand grade level/curriculum level compare and contrast activities
4) prerequisite skill for students to understand word relationships in analogies that requires students to use basic level deductive reasoning skills
5) supports common core English/Language Arts standards
6) reinforces skill of categorization that requires students to sort items into groups, name items according to group, identify/name items that don’t belong in a group
7) increases understanding of age level, grade level, and curriculum vocabulary
8) research supports direct instruction of word associations

Evidence based practice

Research supports the need for direct vocabulary instruction. Marzano (2004) agrees that there is a strong case for the importance and usefulness of direct vocabulary instruction. He states “the research indicates that wide reading probably is not sufficient in itself to ensure that students will develop the necessary vocabulary and consequently the necessary academic background knowledge to do well in school. In contrast, direct vocabulary instruction has an impressive track record of improving students’ background knowledge and the comprehension of academic content.”  

What resources can SLPs and teachers use to address these skills?

Word Associations Baseline and Progress Check Data Forms: Grades 1- 5
Available in my TPT store: http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Associations-Baseline-Progress-Check-Data-Forms

This packet includes baseball themed data collection forms for SLPs or teachers to record students’ accuracy of naming word associations. Students play a baseball game by choosing a player and take turns hitting the baseballs by naming 2 associated words for each target word. If they get a question right, they get a mini baseball to put on their baseball field. If they miss the question, they “hit” a foul ball and the SLP gets the ball. If they answer approximately 15-20 questions correctly, they safely make a “run” by making it to home base and collect enough baseballs to fill up the path.

The Packet includes the following pages:
1) Cover page
2) Instructions page
3) Boy and girl baseball players; custom made illustrations for BSL Speech Language
4) Baseball field custom made graphics for BSL Speech Language
5) 2 pages of different size custom made baseball graphics for BSL Speech Language
6) 2 General Associations lists (Grades 1-3)
7) 1 Language Arts Associations List (Grades 3-5)
8) 1 Science Associations List (Grades 3-5)
9) 1 Social Studies Associations List (Grades 3-5)

No Glamour Vocabulary book by Linguisystems, Inc.

Monday Update: 3/4/13
Today in language therapy, I reviewed word associations with 2 of my 3rd grade groups. First, I reviewed the meanings of word associations. Then, I did a mini lesson and guided practice activity. I listed basic words such as dog, apple, and bookbag and had them name associated words as I wrote them on a mini dry erase board. Then, I had them look at our “word wall” of language arts words that had story vocabulary listed (e.g. character, character traits, author, illustrator, narrator, etc.). I asked them: What is the category or topic of  these vocabulary words? My students required prompting to answer, so I asked them exclusionary questions: Are these math vocabulary? Are these science vocabulary? Are these social studies vocabulary? Are these language arts vocabulary? After that, I modeled making a graphic organizer to review the lesson and we used markers to make the vocabulary more visually appealing (plus using markers are more fun!!). Here is the one I created:

Additional Resources to teach word associations:

Help for Word Finding book by Linguisystems, Inc.

Pair Ups Association Cards by Linguisystems, Inc.

I PAD app Word to Word by MochiBits: best used with 4th, 5th, and middle school students

Numerous TPT resources created by SLPs

* For those that love using technology, I suggest saving a selection of frequently used TPT activities in iBooks on your IPAD for easy access in speech-language therapy sessions. I recently started doing this and it is a great addition and time saver!! 

*I suggest purchasing/adding Pocket Game Super Pack by Danielle Reed in iBook. The activity has activities to address word associations via analogies that target action/object, characteristics, location, and part/whole analogies

* I suggest purchasing/adding Rachel Lynette’s tasks cards for analogies in iBook and printing/laminating to create a file folder activity


What educational resources do you use to teach word associations?

Kindly share your comments!! Thanks for visiting the blog today. 

Reference

Marzano, R. (2004).
Building background knowledge for academic achievement: research on   

          what works in the schools.
Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum    
          Development.

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