Narrowing the academic achievement gap by coding rich vocabulary in authentic texts.

by Kathy Powers

Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12

In this series of videos, students examine the words used in Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. This process requires students to propose alternative words and clarifying definitions. In a culminating exercise students summarize the speech in their own words, enabling me to determine if they have grasped the essential meaning of the text.

Finding the Gettysburg Address

Using Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, I begin by asking students to identify the words that are used most often. Then the students code the important words with a plus if they know the meaning or a minus if they don’t.

Determining Meaning

In this video, we continue to spend time on individual words to try to determine the meaning that best fits the context of what Lincoln was saying in his address.

In Their Own Words

In this video, students share the definitions that their groups have determined characterize the meaning that Lincoln intended in his address. Then I ask students to summarize the address using their new understanding of the original words.