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Frayer Model

The Frayer Model is a graphic organizer for building student vocabulary. This technique requires students to define target vocabulary and apply their knowledge by generating examples and non-examples, giving characteristics, and/or drawing a picture to illustrate the meaning of the word. This information is placed on a chart that is divided into four sections to provide a visual representation for students.  

How to use

1. Select Key Vocabulary

 Pre-select key vocabulary words and make copies of graphic organizer.

2. Provide Graphic Organizer

Provide copies of the Frayer Model graphic organizer to students and explain the process.  

3. Model the Process
  • Show the Frayer graphic organizer to the class and explain each of the sections.
  • Use a common vocabulary word to demonstrate the various components of the form.
  •  Model the type and quality of desired answers when giving this example.
4. Assign Student Groups

Divide the class into student pairs. Assign each pair one of the key concepts and have them complete the four-square organizer for this concept. Or, assign each student one word to work on alone.  

5. Share Ideas

Ask students or student pairs to share their conclusions with the entire class. Use these presentations to review the entire list of key concepts.

6. Create Study Helps

Make copies of each Frayer graphic organizer so every student has a copy of all key concepts to use for review. OR display completed Frayer graphic organizers on a “Vocabulary Wall” for student reference.  

7. Optional Extension

Extend or deepen students’ thinking by asking students to:
• Describe the rationale for examples and non-examples
• Asking students to use the Frayer Model as a note taking strategy during reading.
• Asking students to change the titles of the boxes to include concept development categories.

When to use

Students may use the Frayer Model to:
• develop understanding of key concepts and vocabulary.
• draw on prior knowledge to make connections among concepts.
• compare attributes and examples.
• think critically to find relationships between concepts and to develop deeper
• understanding of word meanings
• make visual connections and personal associations.
• review key vocabulary before a test or quiz
• create a “vocabulary wall” for quick reference of word meanings


Elements of a Typical Frayer Model

A typical Frayer “ 4-square” model includes the following elements:
• Definition (either from teacher or in student’s own words
• Examples
• Non-examples
• Characteristics or illustration of concept

Alternate Elements of Frayer Model- Example 1

Vary this typical model by changing the 4 elements to:
• Examples
• Non-examples
• Essential Characteristics
• Non-essential characteristics

Alternate Elements of Frayer Model- Example 2

Give students a Frayer model with all the squares filled in and ask students to guess the vocabulary word.

     ***See examples of all three in the Templates section.

Use Pic Collage

 Use the Pic Collage app for IPad to allow students to create Frayer model graphic organizers using a tablet device.

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