Monday, March 26, 2012

Spring Break Recovery..... AND Vocabulary Instruction/Strategies

Whew!  I think we were all recovering from spring break today.  I had tired kiddos, sunburnt kiddos, kiddos with bruises, and even absent kiddos still on their trips.   We still managed to get a lot done today!  Only 38 more school days left this year!  (Oh, my! I have a lot of curriculum left to fit in.)

We began "My Father's Dragon" in reading today.  I just LOVE this story.  One of the things we spend a lot of time with each story is vocabulary activities.  There are so many great strategies out there about vocabulary instruction.  I wanted to share a few things we do in the classroom to work on vocabulary.
Generally with each story, I show a powerpoint presentation about the vocab words at the beginning of the week.  This presentation contains a definition, a picture that represents the word, and a sentence using the word.  Usually on that first day, we also do vocabulary cards.  I have also had the students write these words in their vocabulary notebook.  Students must write the definition of the word in "their own words", draw a picture of what they think of when they hear this word, and write a sentence using this word.  Later the students will use these notebooks to practice the words with a partner, write a paragraph with the words, and use this notebook when studying for their test. Some other things we do in the classroom to practice and use our vocabulary words are:
1. Play charades...... I write the vocab words on pieces of paper and put them in a basket.  Then I draw a student's name.  He/she picks a partner and then acts out the word as the class tries to guess it.  This is such a fun activity, and a great way for the students to really think about the word and its meaning in order to act this word out. Here's a pic of our "charades" game today.

2.  Play the "Memory" game with the vocab words and their definitions.  I pass out a sheet that has the vocab words and their definitions.  Students are responsible for cutting them out and playing this game with a partner.  They are to simply match the vocab word with its definition.  The rules are the same as the "memory" game.  Here is a sample of the form I use in the classroom to use with this activity.  You can find it HERE for free at my TPT store.
3.  Students add post it notes to a vocab poster in the classroom as they find vocab words in the items they read.  Students may write the sentence in which the vocab word is used on a post it note and place it next to the vocab word on the poster.  This is a great extension, and my students really enjoy looking for the vocab words in our read alouds, other textbooks, and their independent readers. Here's an example of the poster I have hanging in our classroom this week for the vocab words that go with " My Father's Dragon.
If you are looking for some great resources for incorporating new ideas/strategies in your vocabulary instruction a great book to read is Bringing Words to Life by Isabel L. Beck, Margaret G. McKeown, and Linda Kucan.
Also Robert Marzano has an article on " Six Steps to Effective Vocabulary Instruction".  You can find this article HERE.

Last but definitely not least,  there is a foldable linky party going on right now.  I am a huge fan of foldables.  Laura Candler at is hosting this linky party. Link up with your favorite foldable and check out the foldables from other teachers. Click Here to link up.

I would love to hear about the strategies and activities you use to teach vocabulary.

Have a great evening!

1 comment:

Ms. Chrissy B said...

The Beck book is a good one. Vocabulary is so difficult to teach! Kids who come to school with such limited vocabularies are expected to grow so much more than kids who come with a solid background in language.
Thanks for sharing your ideas!

Buzzing with Ms. B