Vocabulary is very important to your students because it is through the words they learn that they communicate with the world. As a teacher, you can use several methods to expand your student’s vocabulary, one of which is by using a Frayer Model Template. This graphic organizer can help your students conceptualize words and apply their knowledge to real-life conversations. Below, we look at what it is, how it works, and how you can use it to help your students.
What Is a Frayer Model?
The Frayer Model is a four-square graphic organizer used for determining, clarifying, and analyzing word structures and meanings. You select a word and write it in an oval in the middle of a chart – sometimes including the part of speech – then add information to the four squares. Usually, the four squares are blank but contain a heading describing a variation of the word. This could be characteristics, examples, synonyms, non-examples, antonyms, definitions, or attributes. In some cases, you may include an illustration or photograph to improve word visualization.
When Is a Frayer Model Appropriate to Use?
You can use the Frayer Model to teach word analysis lessons or introduce new terms in context or text. While the model is applicable at any grade level and in any subject, it is better suited to students in secondary and elementary levels. It is also most effective when used in context.
What Is a Frayer Model Template?
A Frayer Model template is a downloadable, fillable graphic organizer designed in a four-square model that helps students expand their vocabulary. You add a word to the template, then ask your students to come up with nonexamples, examples, definitions, etc., to explain the meaning and context of the word.
Frayer Model Templates and Examples
Importance of a Frayer Model Template
The Frayer Model is very useful when teaching your students vocabulary. It helps you highlight and define unfamiliar concepts and words so that your students can understand the words within a larger context. Generally, it tries to help your students analyze a word and synthesize the information. This can help activate and build on previous knowledge of a concept and build connections.
How to Use a Frayer Model Template
The Frayer Model is an excellent teaching tool because you can use it in any setup. You can use it for one-on-one instruction with individual students, to teach a small group, or your entire class at once. Whichever style you choose, the aim is to present a preselected group of words to the student and ask them to complete each component of the squares in the model.
In the beginning, it is important to do an example with the students so that they learn how to use the template. During this session, you can also inform them of the quality of answers you would like to receive from them when they do the exercise.
You want to use simple, common words that the students can picture. For example, elephants are easier to visualize than depressed, so that is a great place to start if your students are in the lower elementary level. If they are in upper elementary or secondary, then depressed is a good word to give them.
Once you give them the word, help them find the definition from the text using your own words. This is better than reading the definition to them or giving it in context. You should then help them understand how the characteristics they must fill in can help them visualize elephants or depressed people.
One aspect students will need to conceptualize and fill in is synonyms. These are a great way to build vocabulary because they tell your students what other words they can use in real life to mean the same thing as the word you have given them. On the other hand, antonyms and non-examples are helpful because they tell your students what a word does not mean.
If you are confident your students understand how to use the Frayer Model, you can now pair or group them and assign each group a word. Students that complete all the squares in the organizer can then present and teach the new terms to the rest of the class.
How Does the Frayer Model Work?
As already mentioned, the Frayer Model involves 4 squares, each containing descriptive information about the word in the middle of the chart. The following are the steps for using the Frayer Model:
- Select several words before class that you will focus on in your lesson.
- Print several copies of the Frayer Model template and give them to your students, explaining how they should use them.
- Explain each section of the Frayer Model and use one common word to demonstrate how the components of the model work.
- Tell your students what kinds of answers you are looking for during the lesson.
- Group or pair your students and give each group a copy of the Frayer Model.
- Display a completed model somewhere prominent so your students can use it as a reference.
- (Optional) If you wish to extend the lesson, you can ask your students to take notes or explain the reasoning behind their nonexamples and examples.
Is the Frayer Model Effective?
More and more teachers are incorporating the Frayer Model into their classrooms because it is highly effective as a management tool. The strategy it employs in teaching vocabulary is very hand-on and can elicit concept connections that your students will never forget. As a teaching tool, it provides the following key benefits:
- It can be used before, during, and after a reading session.
- It helps create connections between your students’ current knowledge and what they can learn.
- It improves your students’ capacity to retain information.
- Your students can use it individually, in groups, or as an entire class.
- It promotes critical thinking.
- It draws from and builds upon the knowledge your students already have.
- It is a visual reference and highly interactive teaching tool.
If you teach vocabulary to your students through rote exercises, then they only learn to memorize words without internalizing their meanings. Using a Frayer Model Template creates a more in-depth learning experience that allows your students to understand different aspects of a word and make connections. It teaches them both the meanings of new words as well as their applications.