Entries by Carla Kessler

Take the one-month Vocab Challenge

90 min/wk on vocab – easy Finding time – hard Can you set aside a month where your literacy instruction focuses more on vocabulary (90 min./wk) and less on comprehension? Putting aside some reading instruction time to focus on more word learning is a challenge full of conflict for teachers and administrators alike. Here’s some […]

Word Walls – They’re not just for beginners!

I love reading new research, especially when it confirms something I already knew. This happens to us teachers a lot, right? How many times have you wanted to shout out, “I’ve been doing that (in secret) all along!” when an educational trend formalizes and becomes something your administrators ask you to implement. For example here’s […]

The Dangerous Allure of Apps

Why are students and teachers attracted to those learning apps? Isn’t it obvious? Just watch how engaged students are when using an online learning game or one of the many fun learning apps available almost for free! Should we question more deeply the value of many of our online learning tools? A recent conversation gave […]

The 90 Minute Challenge – You Did It!

Below is the challenge I sent out November of 2016.   By March 1, 2017,  717  teachers had asked to participate.   The overwhelming response: The 90 Minute Challenge made a permanent positive contribution to participants. Teachers agreed their renewed confidence in effective word learning in the classroom meant more words learned and a boost in their commitment […]

3,000 New Words a Year…Is this reasonable?

If you have studied the research on vocabulary acquisition, you’ve probably seen recommendations like this: Students should learn 1000 to 4000 new words a year… You’ve also probably heard statements like this: “The importance of direct vocabulary instruction cannot be overstated.” Marzano  (2014)  http://www.marzanoresearch.com/vocabulary My first reaction to these to statements is disbelief. How in […]

ELL Vocabulary Instruction Basics

The ELL student has more than the average disadvantage when it comes to word learning. Unlike so many of their classmates, these students have not received exposure, from birth, to the English language. They don’t even have the basics. Although many of them have strong comprehension skills in their native tongue, that can’t carry over […]

Emotions Connect

A key ingredient to learning a new word is the connection a student makes with that word to background knowledge. Many of you have stated that your students are so lacking in background knowledge that it is difficult to help them find those connections. Finding emotional connections is the key. If you have looked at […]