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Vocabulary holds great importance for students. As a teacher, you must work to expand your students’ vocabulary and you can do this in several ways. One way to do this is through a Frayer Model template. This is a kind of graphic organizer used for learning concepts or words. The technique requires the students to define target vocabularies and apply their knowledge by generating examples and non-examples. For the students to understand the concept better, you must first demonstrate its use several times.

The importance of a Frayer model template

Traditionally, you can use a Frayer Model example for learning and practicing vocabulary. This graphic organizer involves a square divided into four equal boxes with an oval in the middle. The oval and the four boxes are all labeled with headings. You would place the word concept inside the oval while you use the four boxes for definitions, sentences, characteristics, nonexamples, examples, and pictures.

The main purpose of a Frayer Model vocabulary is to define and pinpoint unfamiliar words and concepts. The students learn to define a word or term, describe its important characteristics, give examples, and suggest nonexamples. All this information goes into the Frayer Model example to give a visual representation of the concept to the students.

The use of the chart can encourage the students to comprehend words within a reading selection with a larger context. The Frayer Model template tries to elicit students to analyze the concept or word, then synthesize or use this information. Moreover, it can also activate previous knowledge of a subject and build connections.

Downloadable Templates:

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Ways to use the Frayer model template

Many of us learn our vocabulary through rote exercises where we solely memorize words. The Frayer Model vocabulary can expand the learning process with more depth and even make it more enjoyable to students. The application of this graphic organizer helps students learn not only the meaning of new or unfamiliar words but also their applications. Here are the benefits of using this model:

  • It helps students identify, understand, and learn new words.
  • It helps students activate past knowledge, connect this to new concepts, and stimulate critical analysis of information.
  • It provides a visual representation of the concept to facilitate easier recall and retention.

To give you a better understanding of this model, here is a simple demonstrative Frayer Model example:

  • First, select a word in a reading assignment and tell your students to write down all the information that they know about the word. Using examples makes it easier for them to identify other facts of the words.
  • From this list of examples your students come up with, encourage them to search for the most important characteristics of that word.
  • Also, guide them to pinpoint the non-examples and non-essential characteristics of the word.
  • Ask them to write down all of their answers in the four sections of a printable Frayer Model and review.
  • Then have your students go through the reading assignment and let them identify any other information that they can add to the sections of the template.
  • Summarize the gathered information and help the students either illustrate or define the word.

Aside from using the Frayer Model vocabulary this way, there are other strategies for you to use it in the classroom including:

  • Guess the Word
    You can display a complete Frayer Model without having to mention the concept or word. Based on the given clues in the four sections, ask the students to guess the word.
    If they fail to guess the word before reading, allow them to read a portion of the material and then let them try again. You can assign the activity as a group where the first to identify the word wins the contest.
  • Give your students incomplete templates
    Ask your students to try and fill incomplete templates. This exercise helps them activate their previous understanding and help them connect this to new information. The critical analysis of students gets stimulated in the exercise when they need to justify their answers.
  • Carousel Brainstorming
    This strategy involves several templates placed around your classroom in separate areas. Divide your students into groups and give each group a time of 2 to 3 minutes to fill the box of their choice in the templates. After the time you’ve set, the groups move to the next template.
    Your students can add more information to the boxes that the other students have already filled. When this exercise ends, each group summarizes the template they ended up with.
  • Reading comprehension
    Before reading, use the model as a graphic organizer to stimulate prior knowledge. First, show your students a filled Frayer Model template leaving the oval blank. See if they can identify the concept oval by just looking at the contents of the four squares.
    While reading, allow your students to create a list of words connected to the main concept. Next, divide the class into groups to fill the sections of the Frayer Model using the list they just created.
    After reading, talk about the Frayer Model’s main concept then talk about nonexamples. Add new knowledge to it, if any.

You can change the Frayer Model example to have your students input and define facts or characteristics in the boxes at the top. Your students can then clarify their understanding of the main concept by analyzing the examples and nonexamples in the boxes.

This exercise can help you make quick assessments on how students learn and allow your students to become more interested in learning new words and concepts. If you can incorporate these practical and easy ways of using the Frayer Model into your classroom, your students may begin to enjoy learning.

How does the Frayer model work?

A Frayer Model template is a graphic organizer used to help students build their vocabulary. The technique involves requiring the students to define target words and use their knowledge by coming up with examples and nonexamples, giving characteristics or drawing an illustration to explain the word’s meaning.

Students then place this information in the template to give a visual representation of the words. This model effectively works if used correctly. Here are the steps to correctly use the Frayer Model:

  • Choose key vocabulary
    Before class, select keywords and make copies of the printable Frayer Model.
  • Provide your students with the template
    Give your students the template and explain the proper way to use it.
  • Demonstrate the process of using a Frayer Model
    Show the students the Frayer Model and explain the sections. To start with, use a common word as a demonstration of the different components of the model. Demonstrate the quality and type of answers you’re looking for when giving the example.
  • Allow your students to share their ideas
    Ask the students, student pairs or student groups to share their conclusions with the rest of the class. You can later use their presentations when reviewing the list of concepts.
  • Provide your students with additional resources
    Make copies of each of the Frayer Models so each student has a copy of all the key concepts they can use for reference. You can also display the completed Frayer Model on a “Vocabulary Wall” that all of your students can use as a reference.
  • Optional activity
    You can further extend or reinforce the students’ thinking by asking them to:
    Describe the reason behind the examples and nonexamples
    Ask your students to use the Frayer Model to take notes while reading.
    Ask your students to change the box titles to include categories of concept development.

Why is the Frayer model effective?

Many teachers today use the Frayer Model as a classroom management tool for several reasons. It’s an exceptional teaching strategy so much so that it has become a widely popular tool. As a graphic organizer, this model can help students:

  • Classifying and organizing their ideas.
  • Construct meaning.
  • Communicate more effectively.
  • Learning the precise meanings of key words and concepts.

The Frayer Model is a visual graphic organizer that teachers use to help students choose and organize information related to a key concept or word. The grid design involves four sections namely examples, nonexamples, essential characteristics, and nonessential characteristics.

The main objective of using the Frayer Model is to make a visual reference that helps students pinpoint unfamiliar words and concepts. The use of the Frayer Model offers several advantages including:

  • It helps establish connections between what your students know and what they can learn.
  • You can use it before, during or after reading.
  • It improves the ability of students to retain information.
  • It encourages critical thinking.
  • You can use it individually, in small groups or for the entire group.
  • It draws on the prior knowledge of students.
  • It serves as a visual reference for students to compare examples.


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