Frayer Model for Science Vocabulary

About a month ago, my maths trainees taught me about Frayer diagrams:

frayer prime

And then, 2 weeks ago, Alex Quigley wrote about them here. Frayer models are having a moment. Alex’s blog says most of what I wanted to say about them and their use for science vocabulary, but I wanted to add two things.

First, I like a draft, redraft phase. I use write/rewite from Lemov’s Reading Reconsidered but the rewrite goes in the Freyer model.

Second, please don’t ask learners to write their own definition. Instead, give them the definition and ask them to explain what it means in their own words. They do it in draft, we discuss and finally they rewrite it in their blank Frayer model grid.

The characteristics box is used for writing down the characteristics of your vocabulary word, or for labelling a diagram. Again, I go for write/rewrite.

Finally we repeat for examples and non-examples.

This final stage follows on from the Direct Instruction activity I wrote about here.

Examples and non-examples are about as good as it gets for clarifying and deepening meanings (e.g negative primes – a year 7 pupil asked whether primes could be negative in a maths lesson I was observing – this possibility had never crossed my mind in the 35 years since I learnt about them – spoiler – primes are defined as positive).

So now your learners have explored the meaning of the word orbit in a far more rigorous way than typical. It’s now time to expose them to the word in as many texts as possible.  Have a look at these:

And finally – get them writing: I love Hochman’s but, because, so…

  • A moon orbits a planet, but…
  • A moon orbits a planet because…
  • A moon orbits a planet so…

Thank you for reading!




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