Discover the Frayer Model, a powerful teaching strategy to enhance vocabulary understanding and foster critical thinking, with practical classroom applications.
What is the Frayer Model?
A Frayer Model is a particular type of graphic organizer that enables pupils to, determine or clarify the meaning of unfamiliar vocabulary words viewed, heard, or read by the students. A Frayer Model is used before students read a text to give them the background knowledge; during reading to observe vocabulary, as well as, after reading a text, to allow students to evaluate vocabulary.
This instructional strategy facilitates students’ acquisition process of new vocabulary and uses comprehensive resource materials by offering students a structure for independent word learning to understand dictionary definitions, examples, and characteristics. Students can engage in word-play activities and comprehensive word learning through repeated exposure to the word through meaningful context clues.
The Frayer Model is also helpful in understanding the relationships between concepts through its categories. The category labels such as “definition”, “characteristic” and “example” can be used to compare and contrast the characteristics of related or contrasting ideas. For example, by breaking down the definition of a "renaissance" in terms of its characteristics, examples, and comparisons with other historical eras, students can gain a deeper understanding of how each concept ties into the larger picture.
The Frayer Model meets this objective by helping students take advantage of their prior knowledge in building new vocabulary and understanding. The Frayer Model provides the perfect visual structure for students to record new words, definitions, key characteristics, and applicable examples by reinforcing the meaning of a concept with visual cues. This allows for more engaged learning with new words and concepts, helping to build student vocabulary quickly and effectively.
Who developed The Frayer Model?
The Frayer Model was created in 1969, by Dorothy Frayer and her co-workers at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research. Their main purpose was to fulfill students' academic vocabulary demands and to help students learn difficult vocabulary more effectively. Dorothy and her team created the Frayer Model to help students understand key vocabulary through explicit vocabulary instruction and comprehensive word analysis.
Elements of vocabulary instruction such as structure, context, and metaphor are all part of the Frayer Model. It promotes effective word learning through scaffolding. This means that students are provided with guided practice while they move from a narrow understanding of the concept to full mastery. Additionally, it applies Bloom's Taxonomy to develop deep understanding which encourages reflective inquiry skills and creativity.
This visual approach to teaching is considered a powerful learning tool for instructing subject-area vocabulary and crucial concepts. The Frayer Model encourages students to learn abstract concepts through use of concrete examples, allowing them to construct their own understandings so that the information can be applied to everyday life. It can be used for any problem solving situation or circumstance.
If you are interested in using more graphical methods for teaching vocabulary and developing deeper understanding then you can explore the various organisers we have available in our repository. As well as providing a scaffold for students to learn with, they can also be used as a springboard towards clearer thinking and writing.
What are the main characteristics of the Frayer Model?
The Frayer Model includes a four-square chart that provides academic vocabulary knowledge, while clarifying, determining, and analyzing difficult vocabulary, word structure and meaning. The central oval has the chosen word written on it. In some cases, parts of speech can also be written in the central oval.
The Frayer Model is a graphic organizer used to help students learn new academic terms. It includes four squares that represent a word’s characteristics, definition, examples, and non-examples. This tool allows learners to gain a better understanding of difficult words through clarification and analysis.
The Frayer model works by having the chosen word written in the center of an oval. Within each of the four squares surrounding it, its associated concepts can be written down. The first square is for its characteristics; this includes defining attributes such as sizes, shapes and functions.
The second box is for its definition; this is usually expressed in one sentence and should cover the general meaning of the word or term being studied. The third box holds an example provided to give context around what can be expected from the given concept or term being assessed.
Lastly, in the fourth box there is a listing of related non-examples; here you write down items that are related but do not fit into the current definition as presented by either characteristics or examples found in other squares thus ruling them out altogether.
In what ways can teachers use the Frayer Model?
- Introducing new concepts: When presenting a new concept or topic, teachers can use the Frayer Model to help students understand and define key terms, as well as identify their characteristics, examples, and non-examples.
- Differentiating instruction: Teachers can differentiate instruction by customizing the Frayer Model according to students' needs, learning styles, or proficiency levels, allowing for more individualized learning experiences.
- Reinforcing prior knowledge: The Frayer Model can be used as a review tool to reinforce students' understanding of previously taught concepts, enabling them to connect new information with existing knowledge.
- Encouraging peer collaboration: Teachers can have students work in pairs or small groups to complete a Frayer Model, fostering collaboration, discussion, and deeper understanding of the subject matter.
- Supporting visual learners: The Frayer Model's graphic organizer format helps visual learners better comprehend and retain information by organizing it in a visually appealing and structured manner.
- Enhancing critical thinking: By requiring students to analyze concepts, their attributes, and their relationship to other ideas, the Frayer Model promotes critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
- Facilitating self-assessment: Students can use the Frayer Model to monitor their own understanding of concepts and vocabulary, identifying areas where they may need additional support or clarification.
- Fostering cross-curricular connections: Teachers can use the Frayer Model to highlight the interconnectedness of concepts across different subjects, illustrating how vocabulary and ideas relate to one another in various disciplines.
- Preparing for assessments: Teachers can incorporate the Frayer Model into test preparation activities, helping students to review and solidify their understanding of key concepts and vocabulary before exams.
- Encouraging independent study: By providing students with a structured method for exploring and analyzing new concepts, the Frayer Model supports independent study and self-directed learning.
By integrating the Frayer Model into their instructional strategies, teachers can enhance students' comprehension of subject-specific vocabulary, deepen their understanding of concepts, and promote critical thinking and collaboration within the classroom.
Developing effective vocabulary instructions using the Frayer Model Template
- Teachers need to analyze the concept or keyword they wish to introduce to the students. They will create a list of features that are vital to the explanation of the tricky vocabulary;
- Teachers will present the concept to students and allow the pupils to give examples (they can use photographs or pictures for younger children);
- Create a list of all of the robust vocabulary that the students mentioned on the board. At this stage, it is advisable not to write anything in the diagram of the model yet. Students must be encouraged to contribute to the list or to the debate over examples that have been written;
- The teacher will ask the students what is common among all of the examples. Their responses will be written on a new list on the board (But, the model must remain empty at this step);
The students will read the list and then write more examples to the first list and highlight those that are not present in their reading;
- The students will do the same with the second list; they will write more features and highlight those that are not present in their reading.
- The teacher will introduce the powerful learning tool of the Frayer Model to the pupils and write the examples in the suitable sections (Non-examples and Examples). Students may need to carry out further research to find out if some of the examples are correct or incorrect.
- The teacher will talk to students about each feature of the second list. If there is a feature that is found in all examples, it will be written in the section of Essential Characteristics. The feature which is found in a few examples and absent in others, it will be written in the column of Nonessential Characteristics (e.g., a particular size, colour, or gender). Students may carry out further research to find out if certain characteristics are nonessential or essential. Students may carry out this research individually or with a classmate.
- Students will use the information in the model to write a passage (either individually or with partners) and describe the provided concept list. After writing the passage, they may share the details with their class-fellows to discuss the concept. After exchanging their ideas, students may write a new passage.
Examples of using The Frayer Model
While studying in a unit of study, a student may need to learn each vocabulary term in the list. Out of this robust vocabulary list, only a few words represent the key term. For instance, students may seek help in a science unit about rocks, the below tricky vocabulary words given in the Frayer Model for Science Vocabulary are mostly taught.
Even if primary school students learn the above vocabulary words from the vocabulary wall independently, they need to know the relationships between complex concepts that figure 2 illustrates and therefore, build a deeper understanding of the major academic concepts. In the entire list of vocabulary, three content vocabulary terms create the foundation for the whole unit: metamorphic rocks, sedimentary rocks, and igneous rocks. As these phrases are primary to any major understanding of the content in the chapter, instructors may have to spend extra time making sure that pupils understand them.
In this case, it is helpful to use student-friendly definitions as well as a graphic organizer like the Frayer Model. If teachers use the instructional methods involving the Frayer Model appropriately, they might be able to add the elements of vocabulary teachings provided on previous pages (i.e. word selection, clearly contextualizing and defining the vocabulary term, helping pupils actively participate in the word processing, offering current understanding through several exposures to phrases).
What subjects lend themselves to the Frayer Model?
Educational experts champion the Frayer Models as a versatile and effective vocabulary instruction tool, promoting vocabulary development and accelerating student learning across all grade levels and subjects. The Frayer Models' adaptable approach proves particularly beneficial in elementary level classrooms, where pupils are introduced to key concepts and unique vocabulary intrinsic to each discipline.
The Frayer Model consists of four cells, each with a designated title, forming a cohesive layout that encourages learners to delve beyond simple vocabulary memorization. This model functions as a powerful learning tool and graphic organizer, facilitating the development of vocabulary while simultaneously enabling the brainstorming of original ideas and essential characteristics connected to specific topics.
Students using the Frayer Models benefit from a focused brainstorming strategy, particularly beneficial for those who require greater concentration or are prone to distraction. This approach helps students to navigate difficult vocabulary and retain information more effectively throughout the learning process.
When implemented before commencing a project, the Frayer Model allows students to brainstorm ideas that will bolster their research. Alternatively, it can be employed post-project completion to consolidate information gathered during the learning process.
The benefits of the Frayer Models extend beyond vocabulary development, serving as an all-encompassing instructional tool that fosters a deeper understanding of subject-specific terminology. Its efficacy in propelling student learning makes the Frayer Models an indispensable resource for teachers, enhancing the educational experience across a wide array of disciplines.