Google
 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Vocabulary Lists, Jazz, Grateful Dead, Conversations, and Search

On March 29, 1990 Branford Marsalis sat in with the Grateful Dead. It was an unlikely pairing. It produced amazing music! Here's a sample to enjoy. I'm sharing this music trivia because of a conversation that I saw on Facebook this week. The gist of it was that a friend who teaches high school language arts was bemoaning the fact that many of her junior and senior year students didn't have vocabularies that were large enough to fully understand some of her assessment questions. My friend's complaint speaks is not unique. In fact, a handful of other friends weighed into the conversation with comments like, "I've experienced the same."

The lack of vocabulary doesn't just hold students back in a classroom conversation or on an assessment. It holds them back when they conduct research online. Without a strong vocabulary students will struggle to use alternate search terms and develop alternate search phrases. That's why I continue to believe and advocate for vocabulary lessons.

So back to that Grateful Dead and Branford Marsalis show in 1990...if Marsalis and the members of the Dead didn't have a common understanding of the basic vocabulary of music they wouldn't have been able to seamlessly blend their styles together to make a remarkable performance. Likewise, if our students don't develop a vocabulary that enables them to fully participate in conversations and in research activities.

These are vocabulary resources that you might find useful:
Vocabulist
ABCD Wordie