Tuesday’s Tip

Happy Tuesday Everyone!  It is officially Teacher Appreciation Day!  I hope you are being appreciated by everyone this day and this week!  You deserve it!  Thank you so much for all that you do!  Just think how many humans in this world would not be able to read if it were not for teachers!  Pretty amazing thought, isn’t it?  Teachers are fabulous!

Here’s a tip or two for you on vocabulary. Maybe they’ll be a reminder of what you already know, or maybe they’ll spark a new idea for you.  Anywho….we all know how important it is to increase student understanding of vocabulary, right?  Whether they are struggling readers, accelerating readers, or somewhere in between…all students need to increase their vocabulary knowledge!  (One peek at the vocab on the sample SBAC tests is enough to make you want to crumble!  Eeek!) But how do we keep it from becoming boring?  That’s something I struggle with at times….and especially at this time of year when the kiddos are T.U.N.E.D. OUT!   That means it’s time for me to make sure I’m using some of our G.L.A.D. language acquisition strategies, because they are fantastic!  Maybe one of these ideas will work for you. 

Here are some second graders who are working on a modified version of the G.L.A.D. strategy of “picture sorts.”  We are about to read a book called “Road Builders.”  It has quite a heavy vocab load, as it uses the names of all of the big machines used in road building.  Normally in this strategy you would use pictures to sort into categories or to match with the words, but I kicked it up a notch by using real objects.  What second grader wouldn’t be engaged by toy trucks, right?  So before we read the book, the boys here were trying to figure out which label goes with which vehicle.  They did a pretty good job, but did they get them all right?  It totally engaged them in learning the vocab for the book, getting them interested in reading it, and it gave me a little pre-assess into their current vocab knowledge!  You’ve probably used real objects a zillion times to engage students, so this isn’t new.  But maybe it’s time to get out the “toys.”  It’s unmotivated spring fever time after all, right?

Here are some of my fourth graders.  We have been reading a fantastic book called “Jump In: It’s Double Dutch!” Part of the word learning that we are working on in this book, is using strategies to figure out the meaning of words.  This book has the words compete, competition, competitor, competitive, competed, and competing!  Whew!  That’s a lot to understand since they look so similar, but mean different things.  We spent a lesson using context clues to figure out the meaning of some of the words. Then we spent another lesson learning how to use the different endings to the base word, to figure out the meaning.  So today, we played a simple little game with the words, that you’ve probably played in various versions before. The girls are taking turns pulling a word card out, reading it, and telling what it means.  If they say the meaning correctly, they keep it in their pile.  If not, they put it back.  There are special cards in there that say “Zappo.”  If they get that, they have to put their cards back and start over.  The one with the most cards at the end, wins. 

Anywho, like I say, you’ve probably played games like this before with your sight words or phonics words.  But consider using it for vocabulary practice and review, too.  (If you like these kinds of games, we include them in every passage set that we make to match that topic.  You can check them out here. It’s a good time to get them too, since TPT is having a sale today and tomorrow….May 5th and 6th.)

I hope these ideas might have sparked an idea for you.  Happy vocabulary teaching!

Thanks again for all that you do!  You are truly amazing! 


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