Creating a language-rich classroom through explicit vocabulary instruction, prompting, and praise.

by Katie Ferguson

Grades K-2, Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8


One of the things I’m really passionate about is creating a classroom of students who are incredibly articulate and dedicated to the purposeful use of words in conversations.

What I’m always trying to do inside and out of the classroom, formally and informally, is intentionally use words that I think will be important for their learning and for life.

I’m also able to adjust the words that I use in the classroom so that they more accurately reflect what I mean. For example, instead of saying “no talking” I say “no socializing,” because I want them to talk but I don’t want them to socialize.

Some specific strategies that I use are:

-Explicitly choosing precise and challenging words when conversing with students,

-Questioning techniques, using notebooks and doing morphology, and

-Prompting and praising students when they use precise vocabulary or words that are new to them.

We know that students learn thousands of words through incidental use and casual conversations. When I can introduce new, more precise words in informal contexts, students can more organically make meaning of those new words and begin to naturally incorporate them into their everyday conversations.


About Katie Ferguson

Katie has had a passion for teaching since 1998, when she joined Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Magnet School of Math, Science, Technology, and Invent...

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