Academic Vocabulary is one of the six major shifts in language arts standards as states are moving to implement the Common Core Standards. Teaching academic vocabulary is going to be ubiquitous. Every content area teacher ia already responsible for teaching vocabulary. All content teachers teach the vocabulary that is unique to their content. Where, but in a history class, would you learn the word Senate? The shift in academic vocabulary instruction due to the implementation of the Common Core Standards in English Language Arts is that all content area teachers will become responsible for teaching Tier 2 words, words that are ubiquitous across all content areas.
USE THE WORD IN A SENTENCE
The word ubiquitous is ubiquitous. While this is an accurate and true statement it is the perfect example of why having students use vocabulary or spelling words in a sentence is not an effective learning strategy. However, the question is whether or not the word ubiquitous rises to the level of being classified as academic vocabulary that should be taught by direct instruction by content area teachers. I would argue that it does not.
Granted when you meet a person and he or she uses the word ubiquitous in general conversation, your first impression is that the person is well-educated. I know that because it happened to me. I remember exactly where I was when I when I first heard the word ubiquitous. My husband and I were eating lunch at Hometown Emporium in Exeter, California, when a friend approached him and said, “My friend, you are ubiquitous.” I was impressed with this friend, and we spent the next five minutes discussing his choice vocabulary word – and that was my introduction both to the word and the friend.
WHAT VOCABULARY DESERVES DIRECT INSTRUCTION?
Only Tier 2 words are targeted for direct instruction by all content area teachers. Is ubiquitous merely a showy, ostentatious Tier 3 word, or is it truly an academic necessity Tier 2 word? Based on the work of Isabel Beck, who categorizes academic words as Tier 1,2 or 3 level, I would classify ubiquitous as a Tier 3 word. It is not a common or Tier 1 word like pencil or high use word like the. It does not have different meanings in different content areas like Tier 2 words: table, key, or expression.
STRATEGY FOR DIRECT INSTRUCTION OF VOCABULARY
To give you an example of a ubiquitous Tier 2 word, let’s put the word table on the table. To do that I’ll create a table to demonstrate how it is used in different content areas.
Even though Common Core standards are only adopted nation-wide for language arts and mathematics, language arts standards are particularly ubiquitous. To make a point, I would argue that Common Core standards in English Language Arts are even MORE CORE, more ubiquitous, if you were, than in mathematics because students have to read, write, speak, and listen even to master the core mathematics standards.
Common Core standards are ubiquitous in the United States. Again, I would argue that the major shift of teaching academic vocabulary may be the most ubiquitous of the six major shifts in language arts standards. Words are important. They represent the expression of all we think and do. Words are ubiquitous.
- Common Core Reading Assessment Analyzed (tchistorygal.wordpress.com)
- Focus on Vocabulary (iteachwithipads.net)
- Common Core Standards are here and you need to know what they are! (educatelatina.com)