Two years ago I posted on a move titled, Keep It or Junk It. The approach has students identifying vocabulary from a text they feel is relevant to answering a focus question instead of the teacher prioritizing words for the students. In the video linked here 5th grade teacher Jennifer Brouhard describes the move and viewers are able to watch its application in Brouhard’s classroom.
Following the initial post in August of 2012, Dr. Pete Cobin shared his thoughts on Keep It or Junk It for English Learners:
There are two things in particular that I noticed.
- The emphasis on “What are you thinking? How do you use this information?” requires students to grapple with how to use language to express their ideas. This leads students to struggle with how to be more informative, and challenges them to go beyond staying on firm ground where they feel comfortable. The result is that students are using language that is rather complex, and the text serves as a model for how to use this more complex language.
- The “Keep It or Junk It” activity begins with learning vocabulary and extends to discussing and arguing how the vocabulary relates to the main ideas. As a result, the amount of paragraph level oral language shown is quite high. The progression of language functions–from identifying vocabulary, to repeating it, describing it, making an example with it, explaining it, arguing about it–forms a nice WIDA-like strand across the range of proficiency levels.
You can learn more about how other classroom teachers are using Keep It or Junk it in the links below.
Raye Wood blogs about using the strategy here.