The seven step vocabulary process can be used in any subject, at any time. You can do all seven steps, or you can choose to do just some of them. In my classroom, I do the entire process at the start of a unit with the critical academic words. It has really increased scores for my students!
The first step is to say the word and show it to the students. The students then repeat the word back to me. We repeat this step three times. I like to have the kids repeat it in unison so students that have a hard time with pronunciation aren't nervous. This step helps to link the pronunciation and print version of the word for students.
The next step is to show the word in a sentence and read it aloud to the students. In this step, the students do not have to repeat or use it themselves. They just observe the sentence in print and the teacher using it orally. This step gives context to the word so students can begin to understand how to use it.
This step is where the definition starts to make sense. Here, the teacher explains the meaning of the word in a kid friendly way. You can use simple language, props, hand movements, or pictures to fully convey the meaning of the word. I also generally use it in a sentence with day-to-day context for the kiddos to really start to get the meaning.
This step is where the "tricky" parts of the word are pointed out. This could be multiple meanings, words with non-standard spelling, homonyms, grammatical variations, or false cognates. In this step, you can also point out the language cognate if you know it or are able to find it. A great source for looking up cognates is The Cognatarium.
This is the step where the kiddos start to "own" the words. They participate in a think-pair-share to use the word in context 10 - 12 times each. The teacher provides an example and a sentence stem first. If the word was environment she may say "One part of the environment I care about is _____." The students would then repeat this sentence frame with a partner, filling in the blank differently each time. The sentence frame is posted on the board.
It sounds like SO MUCH but once it has been done a few times, the kiddos really get into a routine. You should only spend about 2 minutes on each word, and complete 3 - 5 words per lesson. It is worth it- I swear! Since it's hard to visualize without an example, I've made one for you below.
Step one: Have the kids repeat it after you three times.
Step six: Just a note on this step- with higher level ELE students I may give a two part sentence frame, such as "Sometimes I analyze ___________ because ___________."
So, there it is. I know it seems like a lot, but give it a shot! I have noticed a big difference in my student's learning since I started using this process in my teaching.