Teaching vocabulary in special education is crucial, but it can be tough. We work on vocabulary in our setting all day, but it can be overwhelming to know what vocabulary to teach and how. Teaching monthly vocabulary lessons in special education is a great way to cover important vocabulary in a structured, efficient way.
3 Key Points for Vocabulary Instruction
There are three key points to teaching monthly vocabulary lessons in special education:
- Use vocabulary to drive instruction
- Introduce 3 new words per week
- Practice words in all environments
Use your monthly vocabulary words to drive your instruction in your special education classroom. The more you use those words in your instruction, then the more your students will learn them and comprehend what they are learning. Focus on 3 words per week. Don’t try to teach all the words for the month in week one. Teach them, use them, build on them. Lastly, practice your monthly vocabulary words across all environments. Your students are more likely to learn and comprehend the vocabulary words when you use them across all environments throughout your day. Use them during morning meeting, at recess, at lunch, during specials, during centers, all the time!
All teachers love a good word wall, but in special education our word walls need to be functional. Alyssa used a functional life skills word wall in her classroom. A great way to add to a functional word wall is to add your monthly vocabulary words to your word wall. The words are included in each monthly vocabulary unit. You can find the August monthly vocabulary unit here!
Monthly File Folders
File folders are my favorite for practicing monthly vocabulary words. There are 2 levels of file folders in each monthly unit, so you can meet the needs of your diverse learners. I incorporate these file folders into my independent file folder center each day, then I just switch them out each month. The file folders are a great way for your students to review their words and practice independent work.
Center Activities and Games
I love doing centers in my classroom. A great way to teach your monthly vocabulary lessons is through centers. I use the activities and games at my independent and para run centers during our ELA time. There are matching games, clip cards, bingo, flash cards, sentence building, and more. These activities are perfect activities for para run centers! I keep a scrapbook bin with all the games and activities for the month at the center table for easy access. Learn more about setting up classroom centers in this blog post.
All your students can learn vocabulary words and use them throughout the school day. Monthly vocabulary lessons teach vocab in a structured and efficient way. Remember, use the vocabulary to drive instruction, introduce 3 new words per week, and use the vocabulary across all environments.
How do you teach vocabulary words to your students?