Fresh Idea: School-Wide Academic Initiative [& a GIVEAWAY!]

Hello Friends~
It's Dianna from Sassy, Savvy, Simple today bringing you a FRESH IDEA!

Before I start, I need to first say that none of the following ideas are originally from me! They are things I've inquired through working with other Literacy Coaches & attending Professional Developments.

So, here we go.... During the first semester of school I organized a Close Reading Book Study Professional Development after school for teachers to earn renewal credit. For the second semester of school I have organized an Academic Language/Vocabulary training for my teachers. I'll be posting about this journey on my personal blog from now through the summer.

So my FRESH IDEA, is to start a school-wide initiative of making Academic Language meaningful!!!

#1 ~ How to get students excited about learning new words?

You need a hook! My top 4 book suggestions...
13 Words by Lemony Snicket
The Word Collector by Sonja Wimmer
The Boy Who Loved Words by Roni Schotter
Max's Words by Kate Banks
Most of these books are available in your school library, public library or an online library.

Using a book trailer! You can find so many examples online too. Here's an example that I LOVE:
[click on the photo to watch this book trailer]
#2 ~ How to get staff excited about teaching new words?

You first need to show the staff why this is important! A few things to start with are...
  1. Research says kids can move easily in & out of registers if they have meaning.
  2. Educators want students to acquire vocabulary to promote language skills such as reading, speaking, listening and writing.
  3. Educators want to raise standardized test scores... Which these assessments are based around the vocabulary in the standards.
  4. 85% of test scores are based on how well students know the vocabulary of the standards [Marzano, Tileston].
There is more, but this is information that should raise eyes of those listening!

Then I would move into a visual explaining to the staff that you can't get out of the pool, what's not in the pool. I used this anchor chart: Linguistic Data Pool...
We need to train ourselves to use the formal academic language of the standards daily with our students. As a school if we immerse students in this formal language they will be able to make meaning of these words in different formats & genres such as the testing genre.

This Friday I will start sending out a weekly "Academic Language Newsletter" to my staff to incorporate daily the following week. I will use 2 words a week with definitions & examples. You can visit this website by clicking HERE to see the 29 critical verbs of the ELA standards.

I hope you found all of this information useful! Follow me to stay updated in my journey of this topic:-)

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  1. Thanks for all that you share! This looks great!!

  2. What book(s) did you use for your book study? I would love to get something like this started at my school! With a very high ESL population, vocabulary is a big struggle!