Purpose:To help students understand critical vocabulary and key concepts in a reading selection or unit of study Description: Students draw upon their background knowledge to generate relationships between ideas and topics within a category. The key features of these words are displayed on a grid that visually organizes and clearly presents important relationships.
Select a category or topic for the semantic feature analysis.
Down the left side of the chart, list four to five words that name objects or words related to the category. These words should be familiar to students.
In the row across the top of the chart, list traits and properties shared by some of the words that are listed in the first column on the left side of the chart.
Moving through the chart, determine which objects/words possess each of the traits and properties listed across the top of the chart. Use a plus sign (+) to indicate that the object/word usually possesses this feature. Use a negative sign (-) to indicate that it does not. A question mark (?) can be entered when students do not know or are unsure.
When the chart is completely filled in, examine and discuss patterns. Support students in forming generalizations about the objects/words in the category as well as focusing on what make each object/word unique.
Lipton, L., & Wellman, B. (1998). Patterns and practices in the learning-focused classroom. Guilford, Vermont: Pathways Publishing.