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When learning English - one of the first things to do is to get students to acquire a good "bank" of words so they can have some ground on which to talk and begin to communicate. Further down the road, students need to acquire academic vocabulary to succeed and also grow their vocabulary bank and be able to access more and more English content/world.

 

This GSL (general service list) has all the words and audio. Here's a pdf.

It isn't easy. I believe one fundamental thing to do at first - is to contentrate on Verbs. They are the flypaper of the brain. If a student can memorize, recall instantly the main 20-30 verbs, then the other words (nouns) will stick.

I've started a new folder for basic vocab. resources in our Mediafire area. Also, see our Resources for a place to share your own Vocabulary resources.  Also see our Teacher Tools for a good list of vocabulary related tools.  Also a must is Word Count. 


Here are some flashcards of the top 100 words in the English language and a handy presentation of them. (Find this video on our Karaoke video page). What tips, activities, resources can you suggest for learning words? How do we get the students to "collect" these bricks so they can build their own house of language??????

The Top 100 Words

Tags: dolch, gsl, vocab, vocabulary, words

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So, what is the name of that collection of words written horizontally and vertically? I was trying to look it up on google one day and couldn't find it.

As far as learning new words, I tell students to grade the words they don't know. Sometimes I tell them "That's a beginner word". That means they should memorize it today. Other words are actually from other languages (like a street/person's name or descriptions, "arrondissement"). They don't need to bother with those.
Marcus,

I think you mean an "acrostic" poem? Here's a nice site where children make them.

You are correct to guide your students about which vocabuluary is useful to "memorize" and which should be learned directly through use and context.

Many function words (those word that don't have a meaning outside of context - like : of , with, from etc...) should be learned in context. They don't have a direct translation usually, from mother tongue to 2nd language.

However, a strong list of the 100 top verbs would be VERY useful to memorize. As well, any cognates (words used in mother tongue / second language) - so the students understand the differences in how they are used and can build their vocabulary a lot through them (that's why it isn't as difficult for a Dutch person to learn English).

Scott Thornbury has a very interesting blog discussion on vocabulary size. My own feeling is that vocabulary size is much like "male" size. Helpful sometimes but the importance of use is still primary.
Acrostics and mesostics are good too, but I thought there was an internet word you guys use to reference it. Someone made a site where you can make one of these, right? Maybe the name of it is also the address to the site. I remember visiting the site one day, "Make a ___" here. I just can't find it again. To clarify, it's exactly what you have in the original post, words spelled out vertically and horizontally. Acrostics just spell one repeated word down and you make a sentence across.
Oh, I know what you mean - either Wordle or Tagxedo. Find out about them here in our websitesoftheday post.
:D I say vocabulary size can give you confidence, much like the other example you mention.

Honestly, I just couldn't help responding to this one (a big discussion in my house as the boys were growing up! :D )

For men:


For the ladies : )

I couldn't find the Maria Muldar version, so here's another from her... Don't you feel my leg : )


Don't blame me- these were the songs of my formative years!!

I don't know if this is specifically vocabulary but it is super cool !  A text animation of the speech in V is for Vendetta. 



Funny, David, you are sensitive to moving type, just not static! Oooo, I like it, it just got exciting!

Here are a few more sites that may come in handy as a vocabulary reference for you or your students.

 

Just the word references words or combinations of words.  You can even display the results in Wordle!

http://www.just-the-word.com/

 

Netspeak brings up lists of collocations. Use "?"  to replace the word you want to get results for as a collocation. http://www.netspeak.org/

 

EnglishCentral has recently become VERY big with vocabulary and you can use the vocabulary playlist feature to pull up short video line examples for words.  Some playlists will give many examples. Students can then record the lines with this vocabulary item and learn the use of the world in a variety of contexts. Even get word lists for themes/topics. 

Here's an example for health. Click the video clip list for a word on the right and a window will open with the list of video examples. http://www.englishcentral.com/vocabulary#/facet/39-health

Piclits is changing (see the review below) and there will be a live talk with the creator about plans/ideas for its future. Hope it doesn't close and I'll be attending the brainstorming session and offering my expertise/ideas.

Join me Wednesday, May 2nd, for a unique community brainstorming session on PicLits.com with creator Terry Friedlander, the "creative writing site that matches beautiful images with carefully selected keywords in order to inspire you. The object is to put the right words in the right place and the right order to capture the essence, story, and meaning of the picture."

Terry Friedlander, the creator, admits that he is not a "computer person," and feels that for the site to keep going it needs a new home, new blood, new ideas, or all three. There has been a substantial initial investment and there are ongoing tangible costs to running PicLits (hosting, photo purchasing, "wordsmithing," etc.), and the dilemma he faces is that to create a premium or revenue model for the site and to take it to the next level (or even mobile) will require an energy or financial investment he is not prepared to make.

PicLits seems to have a lot going for it: the site averages 260,000 visitors and 1.2 million page views per month. There are 40,000 registered users, most of whom are teachers from seven different countries. Have you used PicLits? Do you like it? Is it worth saving? Let us know in the EdIncubator PicLits group at Classroom 2.0, and/or come on Wednesday to hear Terry tell his story and help brainstorm how to save PicLits.
See you online!

Steve

Steve Hargadon

HELP SAVE PICLITS
Date: Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012
Time: 5pm Pacific / 8 pm Eastern (international times here)
Duration: 1 hour
Location: In Blackboard Collaborate (formerly Elluminate). Log in at http://futureofed.info. The Blackboard Collaborate room will be open up to 30 minutes before the event if you want to come in early. To make sure that your computer is configured for Blackboard Collaborate, please visit the support and configuration page.
Recordings: The full Blackboard Collaborate recording and a portable .mp3 audio recording will be posted at http://www.stevehargadon.com/2012/04/help-save-piclits-wednesday-ma... the day after the event.

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PicLits.com - A great way to practice vocab with students!

I love the userfriendliness and student friendliness of this site! A simple idea which benefits students immensely.

At PicLits, you choose a picture. Then either choose from a preselected list or go "freestyle" with your own choice of words. Drag the words onto the picture, save and voila! You have a powerful blend of picture and text for student thematic vocabulary learning.

I see many uses but probably the most powerful is to get the students making them! You can even make them with some words that are cognates and related to the picture, some not. Students must guess/select which.....

I hope you'll make a few and share them here on EFL Classroom 2.0. What can you come up with? It took me 2 (yes, no lying and that included registration!) to make this one below.... You try and do better!

cutlery.jpg

 

PicLit from PicLits.com
See the full PicLit at PicLits.com

Whilst vocabulary is clearly an important aspect to acquiring a new language, I believe far too much weight is given to it in language classrooms. The reality is that words by themselves don't really amount to much. You can learn thousands of words, but if you don't know how to use them, what use are they.  

So I believe it is far more effective to spend one's time is building the scaffolding which is strong and sturdy. Once that is in place, bedded in speech, adding vocab is FAR easier because it has a place to fit. Even then though it is important to follow methods that emphasise the place they belong to, rather than a translation or a bland description that leaves one cold.

If you are interested to get a better idea of what I mean, I have written a bit about this in the following post:

http://www.strategiesinlanguagelearning.com/how-to-remember-vocabul...

There are many strategies for picking up vocab, which can be taught...and need to be taught. But by spending too much time on learning vocab, the limited time in a classroom can easily be squandered. Ample speaking practice built around expressing oneself in the all the ways we can, in ways that conform to the structures of English is where time needs to be spent, irrespective of the level.

So it would be good to examine what can be done about that, as that is the heart of language teaching and learning, not the teaching of vocabulary.  

( I hope I haven't stirred the pot too much! :-)  )

Here is a nice complete list of the Dolch words with a tracking sheet (you ask students to read them and check if they can read them / recognize them thus, Dolch words are known as sight words - words students should know in order to read English effectively).  Also has a story using all the 220 words in it. 

Jan Brett has some beautiful images of each board.Get students to learn / master each board , each month of the school year. 

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There are many issues in vocabulary building however the fundamental one is "does the learner really want to engage in learning and using the language". Without that, the rest is wallpapering. (What I will talk about below is within the context of a classroom.)

So on the assumption we, as teachers, do what is necessary to have engaged learners in our classes (and by that I mean THEY want to, not because of pressure from outside.) we then need to ensure that they have a scaffolding on which to hang the vocabulary they want to learn. It is of little use trying to learn "deify", for example, if they can't even form simple sentences.

Learning vocabulary happens much more easily if the learner can place the new item within a structure they are familiar with. "I put my pyjamas on to go to bed" is a sentence which will enable the learner to contextualise the learning, forming links, which is a often forgotten device for powerful learning. That is why putting blue and red before pyjamas is even a better sentence to help learn this vocabulary item. The more links that can be established when the item is being learnt, the better...especially if the links are personal. We all feel more juice when we are talking about ourselves, etc. Why wouldn't that be the case in learning?

That is one reason why trying to memorise vocabulary lists does not work for most people and why textbook based learning has its weaknesses - it is not personalised.

I could rabbit on for quite a while but I have written extensively on this matter at http://www.strategiesinlanguagelearning.com/how-to-remember-vocabul... and elsewhere on the site. So if you are interested by all means check out my site. Keep in mind though it is really intended for language learners. Next year I will be bringing out a book Language Learning Unlocked where I will elaborate further on this...amongst other things

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