In MYP1-3, the English language acquisition classes focuses on all four domains of language; Listening, Reading, Speaking and Writing. Research shows that though all the above receptive and productive skills are equally essential in a student’s language acquisition journey, it is vocabulary knowledge that holds the key to success.
Vocabulary plays a critical role in our lessons. Students learn the use of new words and their meanings through teacher-led activities and often through being ‘word detectives’ and exploring topics and text. Some strategies used to teach vocabulary are Word Walls, Prefix-Base-Suffix Walls, reading time, Frayer model and Word Games like last person standing, Name-place-animal-thing.
Generative Prefix-Base-Suffix wall
Coloured post-it notes are used as building blocks to teach students about prefixes, suffixes and base words. They use this knowledge to dissect and break down new, difficult vocabulary and, also to construct new words. For example, ‘give’ is a base word (verb); we add ‘for’ as a prefix to make it for + give = forgive (verb), and then add the suffix ‘er’ at the end to make it forgive + er = forgiver (noun).
The Frayer Model
A graphic organizer that helps students to explore the meaning of new words by defining them, generating examples and non-examples, giving characteristics, and/or drawing a picture to illustrate the meaning of the word. They can also translate it into their first language and use it in a sentence.
Students play games like ‘last person standing’ where they need to think quickly and use vocabulary associated with a given topic. They form a circle and use a ball to pass the turn to a classmate. This is a quick and fun way to engage students and recap vocabulary learnt in a previous lesson.