Tuesday’s Tip

Hello Everyone and a Holly Jolly Tuesday to you!  Here are some quick Tuesday’s Tips!  This week…it’s all about vocabulary!  Recently, we had a support teacher’s meeting at which they shared vocabulary that is likely to be on our state test!  Whoa baby!  Those are some big words!  And when I say big, I mean ginormous! (As Lindsey always says!)  Every teacher in that room just about fell out of their chairs and was ready to quit teaching when they saw them! I mean what in the goodness?  Are we teaching college all of a sudden???  After recovering from the shock,  they all did what our fabulous teachers always do and got straight to work on figuring out how this mountain can be conquered!  (Our state test is the SBAC, by the way.)  So out comes the vocabulary strategies.  Here are a few of the tried and true goodies.

1.  Mystery Word
Each day or two, we have a Mystery Word.  It comes in an envelope that is fancy and contains the word for the day.  It is a HUGE honor and privilege to be the one who opens the Mystery Word.  You have to earn that privilege…. yessiree!  (Of course everybody earns a chance eventually…but don’t tell the kiddos that, okay?)   So how do I teach it after it has been opened and presented?  Well…that’s where you need tip number two!  The G.L.A.D. Signal Word!

2.  G.L.A.D. Signal Word
 G.L.A.D. stands for Guided Language Acquisition Design.  It is a wonderful collection of teaching strategies that help all children learn the ELAs well.    The signal word works like this.  You choose an important vocabulary word and teach it and a kid-friendly definition to the children.  Include with it a hand motion to help it to stick in their brains.  Then, you say the word at random times throughout the day.  When you do, the children respond with the kid-friendly definition and hand motions.  You can change it up by giving them the definition and having them tell you the word.  It works like MAGIC!!!! Quick, easy and works like magic?  Why yes please! Here’s an example word – “Schema” – “Everything you already know about something!”  (You’ll have to imagine the hand motions.)    Anywho….the Signal Word is my favorite G.L.A.D. strategy of all time!  Now if you are like me and need it to be cutesy too, just post the word on your Word Buddy.  Oh yeah, we have a Word Buddy.

3. Vocabulary Pages
So a few years ago our school did lots of professional development around Marzano’s vocabulary strategies.  For some reason, it just didn’t take off in our school.  But a few things stuck with some of us.  Like using Vocabulary Pages.  I don’t use them the way Marzano recommends….sorry Mr. Marzano….but we do keep track of our newly learned vocabulary words. Here, my third graders are working on vocabulary as they get ready to read about Las Posadas.

4. Games
Who doesn’t like a game, right?  That’s why we include them in our Leveled Passages sets. (You can get them here.)  Here, those amazing third graders are playing the vocabulary game that comes with our Las Posadas leveled passages.  They love it and it really helps the vocabulary to “stick.”

There are sooooo many wonderful ways to teach vocabulary, but these are a few that worked for me in the classroom and now work just as well in my short little reading intervention groups.  Hope you find them useful or that they spark another great idea for you!  And if you have other great ideas, please share them in a comment so we can all steal  use your wonderful ideas too.   Wink, wink!

Have a great week everyone!  (Count down is on…..8 more days for us until break!)


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