Instruction of Key Academic Vocabulary with High School ELLs

In this lesson, students read a letter that Captain John Smith of the English Army wrote to Queen Anne in 1616.

Teacher: Anne Formato
Grade: 9-12
School Name: Poughkeepsie High School, Poughkeepsie, NY

Instruction of key academic vocabulary with high school ELLs

In this lesson based on a letter that Captain John Smith wrote to Queen Anne in 1616 about the Algonquin Indians of Virginia, students will preview, learn, and ...


Grade 7: Language Arts Standards

Reading Standards for Literature 6-12

  • Standard: Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text; provide an objective summary of the text. (RL.7.2)

Speaking & Listening Standards 6-12

  • Standard: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 7 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly. (SL.7.1)

Language Standards 6-12

  • Standard: Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific words and phrases. (L.7.6)

Lesson Summary

In this lesson, students will read a letter that Captain John Smith of the English Army wrote to Queen Anne in 1616. He wrote this letter about his encounters with the Algonquin Indians of Virginia. The featured activity focuses on academic vocabulary from the second paragraph, highlighted in the attached student glossary.

Things to watch for:

  • Identification of academic vocabulary
  • Distinctions between Tier 1, 2, and 3 words
  • A variety of vocabulary instruction techniques
  • Encouragement of students to demonstrate mastery of new words
  • The use of cognates
  • Comprehension checks of vocabulary through discussion, examples, and student sentences
  • A combination of pair work and whole class discussion

Note: Based on the language and literacy levels of her high school ELLs, the teacher decided to align this lesson to 7th-grade English language arts standards.