Education Dictionaries and Glossaries

By Thomas DeVere Wolsey 

In August, I published a post with links to discipline-specific glossaries and dictionaries. Because the internet has such a wealth of resources, it is sometimes difficult to find the sites you want or the key words for a search you need. Lists with links can help readers find the resources they need quickly. Continuing the dictionary list tradition, I compiled some general education dictionaries online. The criteria for inclusion are the same as in the discipline-specific post, except that the resource audience includes teachers and parents.

Parents may want to catch up on the words teachers use. Because schools and states purchase materials from different publishers, sometimes differing terms are heard in the faculty lounge or the school board room. The underlying ideas may be the same, but the word to describe that idea could differ from district to district.  Here are some resources to learn more about the words teachers use.

Reading Rockets

Reading Rockets

Language and teaching strategies: Effective teachers use a variety of strategies to guide their students. This glossary from Reading Rockets organizes them by the type of language learning task (phonological awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension, and writing). http://www.readingrockets.org/strategies


 

Glossary of Language Education Terms

Wikipedia

English Language Learners: WikiProjects Glossaries provides this resource that includes terms used in teaching English language learners (students whose first language is not English). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glossary_of_language_education_terms

The United States Department of Education also publishes a useful glossary of terms related to teaching English language learners. http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/ell/glossary.html 

 


 

Teachnology glossary

Teach-nology

General Teaching Glossary: General terms that go beyond those used just in language learning environments can be found on the Teach-nology site. http://www.teach-nology.com/glossary/

 


 

Fractus Learning Technology Terms for Teachers

Fractus

Technology in Education: As technology becomes an increasingly useful component for teaching, new terms have made their way into the classroom. Learn some of them on the Fractus Learning blog.    http://www.fractuslearning.com/2013/03/04/technology-terms-for-teachers/

Another useful site with technology terms, but not specifically for educators or parents, is Netlingo.com


 

Understood Disability Important Terms

Understood

Special education: The field of special education has its own set of terms, often derived from policies and laws that govern special education settings.  Look them up on the Understood website.          https://www.understood.org/en/learning-attention-issues/getting-started/disability-important-terms/terms-you-may-hear-from-educators


What other categories should be added to this link list? Are there other dictionaries or glossaries that you can suggest for any of the categories in this post?

 

Top 5 Posts

To kick off the new year, we decided to look back at some of our most viewed posts with help from the WordPress statistics tools. Here are some statistics–18,000 readers last year alone. Woot!

Crunchy numbers

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 18,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 7 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

The busiest day of the year was September 23rd with 296 views. The most popular post that day was Which Robber Baron Are You? Quizzes to Inspire Writing.

Most Read Posts in 2015

These are the posts that got the most views in 2015. If you missed one, just click the links below to revisit the article:

Student Oral Language Observation Matrix: Spreadsheet Style

By Thomas DeVere Wolsey

A time-tested standby to help teachers understand English learners’ oral language proficiency is the SOLOM or Student Oral Language Observation Matrix. The instrument is not a test, but it is an informative assessment that teachers use to inform instruction. There are many versions in html, Word, and PDF, but an interactive version in Excel (.xls) may prove useful.

SOLOM and Excel

SOLOM is in the public domain, so you may find some variations in the various published versions of the Matrix.   Teachers and teacher educators use the Matrix, developed by the San Jose (California) Bilingual Consortium, for a variety of purposes:

  • It fixes teachers’ attention on language-development goals;

  • It keeps them aware of how their students are progressing in relation to  those goals; and

  • It reminds them to set up oral-language-use situations that allow them to observe the student, as well as provide the students with language-development activities.

    Source: Center for Applied Linguistics

Download SOLOM (Excel)

Download SOLOM (Excel) here.

The Box.net file opens in preview mode; to download, find the upper right ↓ download arrow. Figure 1 shows where to locate the download icon.

SOLOM (Excel)

Figure 1: Download from Preview Mode – SOLOM Excel

What are the advantages of the Excel version of SOLOM?

  1. You can replicate this SOLOM digitally without killing any trees (no paper needed).
  2. You can add sheets for each student to keep all your results in one file.
    • Each sheet is accessed by the tabs at the bottom, left, of the spreadsheet. See figure 2. This template includes three sheets, but you can add more if you need them. Start here to learn how.

      Excel Tabs

      Figure 2: Excel Tabs

    • If you choose to do so, you can calculate results across sheets – a topic for a future post.
  3. The Excel spreadsheet does the calculations for you, an important feature if you have many students’ results to enter.

Want to review some common Excel terms? Navigate here. Maybe you want to dive into Excel vocabulary a bit more deeply? Point your browser here.

SOLOM Practice on YouTube

Several good YouTube videos allow you and your colleagues to practice using SOLOM. Try this one. This Playlist may also be useful.

Excel Geek?

If you happen to be an Excel geek, you can read this paragraph. Otherwise, just skip to the “Sources,” below. Excel is a powerful spreadsheet that harnesses the calculating abilities of the processor on your computer (or in the cloud). This version of SOLOM employs the COUNTA function to actually count the number of entries for each column, the SUM function to add up the column totals, and the VLOOKUP function to assign overall scores to a proficiency level. Shout out to gebobs for helping me find the function I should use instead of the one I was unsuccessfully trying to use!

SOLOM Sources

The best original source for SOLOM I can find is found at http://www.cal.org/ and opens as a PDF.

I adapted SOLOM for Excel from Arch Ford Educational Service Cooperative;  in Word format at SOLOM. (note: I removed the word “even” from cell B8).

Please share your variations and adaptations of SOLOM (Excel) in the comments section. What might you do to improve this tool? How have you used apps other than Excel to improve SOLOM or similar assessments

Happy Holidays

We wish each of our readers a warm holiday season with friends and family and a prosperous new year!

Happy Holidays

Image source: https://pixabay.com/en/trees-winter-holiday-card-snow-958552/

Literacy in the Disciplines Page

You may have noticed that a new page tab appeared at the top of the Literacy Beat site. New resources for literacy in the disciplines (also known as disciplinary literacy) will be posted here periodically.

Diane Lapp and Thomas DeVere Wolsey have been putting together a multimedia collection of interviews between literacy professionals and experts in some disciplines. We started with art, music, and technology, and these are now live on Literacy Beat. We invited teachers to respond with ideas and insights, as well. We plan to add to this in the coming months, but we hope this will be useful to you as you think about literacy in the disciplines. The site includes videos and podcasts and a few online resources, as well.
Use the page tab or just click here to find the new page: literacybeat.com/literacy-in-the-disciplines/ 

Academic Vocabulary List

By Thomas DeVere Wolsey

For many years, the Academic Word List helped teachers and researchers determine which words were academic in nature (Coxhead, 2000).  Coxhead’s research resulted in the Academic Word List which comprises words roughly equivalent to Beck, McKeown, and Kucan’s (2002) notion of tier two words; that is, words that are used in academic English but not specific to any one discipline.  Coxhead created her list from a corpus, or collection, of academic texts from four disciplines at the university level mainly from New Zealand.  The corpus included 3,500,000 words in total. Academic words were determined by eliminating the 2000 most common words in English and then eliminating words which were found only in a limited range of disciplines.

Now, a new Academic Vocabulary List (AVL) is available online, and it is based on 120 million words derived from a corpus of texts in American English.  Linguists at Brigham Young University, Mark Davies and Dee Gardner, have made their work available as downloads you can use in your own research, or through an online interface. The online interface allows the user to search detailed information about any word in the AVL, and it also permits users to input an entire academic text to determine how it compares the words in the corpus.

This research directly informs instructional practices. An excellent article by Larson, Dixon, and Townsend in Voices from the Middle is a good place to start, and it is free on the National Council of English Teachers website (scroll down to find the article How Can Teachers Increase Classroom Use of Academic Vocabulary? here: http://www.ncte.org/journals/vm/issues/v20-4

Learn more about AVL on the List’s website at http://www.academicvocabulary.info/x.asp or visit the online interface by clicking the picture, above, or navigating to http://www.wordandphrase.info/academic/

References

Beck, I. L., McKeown, M. G., & Kucan, L. (2002).  Bringing words to life: Robust vocabulary instruction. New York: Guilford Press.

Coxhead, A. (2000). A new academic word list. TESOL Quarterly, 34(2), 213-238.

Gardner, D., & Davies, M. (2013). A new academic vocabulary list. Applied Linguistics, 1. Available: http://applij.oxfordjournals.org/content/35/3/305

Larson, L, Dixon, T., & Townsend, D. (2013). How can teachers increase classroom use of academic vocabulary? Voices from the Middle, 20(4), 16-21.

Literacy in the Disciplines: Getting at the Content

IAIE* created a webinar to connect teachers everywhere who are interested in learning more about what makes their disciplines unique. After all, learning in science is quite a bit different from learning in social studies and the literacies in those disciplines take on unique characteristics. Use the power of the web to connect with other teachers as we explore the disciplines.

The webinar is offered on October 8 at 4 PM  Pacific (7 Eastern) and a repeat is offered on October 14 at 1 PM Pacific (4 PM Eastern) for about 45 minutes.  The webinar is just $10, and you will receive articles and handouts, participate in a live presentation, and have access to a recording for future reference. In addition, you’ll meet some wonderful new colleagues. If you follow Literacy Beat, you may enter the discount code FRIENDS to receive a 20% discount before October 6.

Disciplinary Literacy

Disciplinary Literacy

*Full disclosure: IAIE is owned by Literacy Beat blogger Thomas DeVere Wolsey. While the webinar date has passed, it is still available by special request.

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