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Concept Definition Map
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  • Middle elementary and above

  • Vocabulary development

  • Assess/develop/activate prior knowledge

  • Motivation

  • Set purpose for reading

  • Identify characteristics/properties

  • Identify examples

  • Expand understanding of concept beyond simple definition

  • Link new word to prior knowledge

  • Writing

  • Display a blank model of a Concept Definition Map.

  • Point to the questions on the map.

  • Tell students that a complete definition would answer:

    • What is it?

    • What is it like?

    • What are some examples?

  • Model how to use a concept definition map.

    • Use a familiar concept (e.g. horse) and elicit the relevant information for the map from the students.

    • Write the information in the appropriate boxes in the model.

    • Guide the students in developing a definition for the concept, emphasizing that it should include:

      • The word category

      • The important properties or characteristics

      • Some specific examples

    • Repeat with a different, familiar concept from the text.

  • Present another familiar concept from the text.

    • Provide guided practice as the students develop the concept map.

    • Provide as much support as necessary for the students to be successful.

  • Present the new concept from the text the students are learning.

    • Provide guided practice as the students develop the concept map.

      • They will not write the definition at this point.

    • Provide independent practice with the new concept.

      • Cover the concept map you and the students have developed.

      • Students work in pairs to recreate the concept definition map

      • Students may use information from their reading passage, the glossary or dictionary, and their own background knowledge to complete their concept map.

      • Students use the information in the maps to write a complete definition of the concept.

      • The definitions should be more involved than simple dictionary statements and will usually contain several sentences.

  • Students share their definitions with classmates.

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