Hi again! It's Angie from The First Grade Scoop. I thought I'd stop by and share a bit with you about one of those kinda tricky things to teach... Vocabulary! It's so crucial to build our students' vocabularies with high-utility words, and it's critical that readers have a strong vocabulary - and ways to determine what new words mean - in order to have good comprehension. Here's a strategy that's worked well for me...
I teach in a school with a very high ELL population, and I always have a
range of linguistic needs in my classroom. Vocabulary is SUCH a
critical area to develop in all students, and particularly in ELLs,
since it's key to comprehending reading. Without a specific vocabulary
instruction program, I began searching for ideas for how to teach
vocabulary several years ago. I found a wonderful post (I think on A to Z
Teacher Stuff) but I cannot for the life of me find it anymore. It had a
wonderful idea for teaching vocab, and I've used it ever since.
My read aloud time tends to alternate between a theme or author study
and a chapter book. I try to read a range of chapter books to my
students, including longer nonfiction books, like level 3 or 4 Time for
Kids readers. For each book, I try to pull out about 15-16 Tier 2 words,
or words that are not terribly common (like "green" or "milk"), but
that aren't highly academic (like "photosynthesis"). These are the kind
of words I'd like my students to use more of in their own speaking and
writing, and that they're likely to encounter again in their reading.
I take a piece of chart paper and fold it into 16 squares. Each day, I
write two or three new words on the chart, one per square. I leave the
rest of the square blank. Before reading, I tell the students the words
they should listen for in that day's chapter. When I get to the word,
students put their thumbs up. I often will stop and reread a couple
sentences before and after the new word. Then, we discuss the word,
using context clues to help determine the word's meaning. We do a lot of
acting out, and discuss scenarios in which the word makes sense.
Sometimes, I draw the picture right then, to help give students another
visual to associate with the word, but other times, I draw the picture
after school. I may also write a synonym underneath the picture. By the
end of the book, we have a chart that looks like this:
(This was a chart for Toys Go Out, which is a GREAT read aloud
about toys that come to life when their owner goes to bed. It's
hilarious and very engaging, especially for my boys.)
After we complete the chart, I give pairs of students each a card with a
vocabulary word on it and we play charades to review the words. The
next day, my kiddos take a short quiz, using the words in a sentence and
briefly defining the words with pictures and words:
We accumulate these charts on our wall, and the students get a kick out
of hearing a lot of the words in subsequent read alouds and making
connections between words that mean the same thing.
At the end of the year, we cut the words into squares and I give each
kid a stack of words to take home. It sounds lame, but I think it's like
the kid version of Oprah's Favorite Things. They seriously shriek about
Hope you're having a great weekend!!!