Learning Investing Through Effective Vocabulary Instruction

Educator utilizes explicit vocabulary instruction to teach students about investing.
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About this Micro-credential

Apply for a micro-credential before December 22nd, 2017 for a $75 Amazon gift card!*

*Offer valid until 12/22/2017. To receive a gift card, participant must complete all portions of the micro-credential application including the optional survey. Gift cards will be awarded in the form of Amazon eGift Cards emailed to the account specified by the participant. Each participant can receive maximum one gift card. GFLEC reserves the right to withdraw this offer at any time.

Key Method

The educator understands the benefits of explicit vocabulary instruction in personal finance lessons and uses explicit vocabulary instructional techniques during a lesson about investing.

Method Components

What are the components of explicit vocabulary instruction?

  1. Preparation: The words are chosen and students’ background knowledge is assessed.
  2. Explanation: Student-friendly definitions are used to explicitly teach the chosen words. It is important for students to have rich and varied experiences with each word, so it may be helpful for images and videos to accompany the definition.
  3. Application: Students apply words in meaningful activities that push them into higher levels of thinking.
  4. Reinforcement: Students review the newly learned words.

(Hanson & Padua, Harmon & Wood, Moore).

Suggested Implementation:

  1. Begin the lesson with a student-friendly definition of the word invest that comes from a personal finance context, rather than a dictionary definition, which usually proves to be unhelpful in teaching vocabulary (Bintz 3).
  2. Choose a short reading text that uses the word invest multiple times and introduces other information about the topic that will be useful for the lesson.
  3. Prompt students to brainstorm other uses of the word invest in order to compare uses and meanings of the word in different contexts (Harmon & Wood).
  4. Throughout the lesson, use an explicit vocabulary activity of your choice to introduce two more investing terms, such as liquidity. Opportunities for active learning may include graphic organizers (see the resources section), word questioning (See Bintz), statement completions, and cubing (See Harmon & Wood).
  5. Discuss the relationships between the terms that were learned.

Research & Resources

Supporting Research

Explicit vocabulary instruction is often omitted from content-driven courses. This is troublesome since there are thousands of “tier-3” subject-specific terms, which are not common in everyday conversation, but are crucial for understanding different subject areas (Marzano). Additionally, an enhanced vocabulary has been proven to increase literacy and reading comprehension overall (Bintz). Research shows that explicit vocabulary instruction is most effective when it includes active involvement, multiple learning experiences, context, multiple exposures, and student-friendly definitions (Harmon & Wood, Moore, Hanson & Padua).

  • Bintz, William P. “Teaching Vocabulary Across the Curriculum.” Middle School Journal (2011): 44–53. Illinois State University. Web. 25 Oct. 2015.
  • Moore, David W. “Why Vocabulary Instruction Matters.” Best Practices in Secondary Education. Cengage Learning, n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2015.


Vocabulary Instruction

Submission Requirements

Submission Guidelines & Evaluation Criteria

The items in the following section detail what must be submitted for evaluation. To earn the micro-credential, you must receive a passing evaluation for Parts 1, 3, and 4 and a “Yes” for all artifacts submitted for Part 2.

Part 1. Overview Questions

(200-word limit):

  • How did the chosen explicit vocabulary activities benefit and improve the overall lesson?

Part 2. Work Examples/Artifacts

Submit student work that demonstrates competence with the “active learning” portion of explicit vocabulary instruction.

Also, submit one video that shows students engaged in one of the explicit instruction strategies used during the lesson.

Part 3. Student Reflection

Provide two written reflections from students who participated in the activity used for submission of part 2. Use the following question as guidance (200-word limit):

  • How did this lesson help you understand investing vocabulary?

Part 4. Teacher Reflection

Provide a reflection on what you learned, using the following questions as guidance (300-word limit):

  • How did this technique help you to communicate this personal finance content to your students?
  • What other personal finance topics could be taught in the classroom using this teaching technique?

Part 5. Survey (Optional)

Please answer a brief survey about your experience teaching personal finance. Your responses will:

  • help us understand barriers personal finance teachers face;
  • and help us improve the resources being offered to personal finance educators

We appreciate your help.

Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under:
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)


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