Vocabulary! No one would deny the importance of teaching vocabulary. Whether your students are below grade level, above grade level, or somewhere in between, vocabulary is essential to their success in school and in life! We believe in teaching it wholeheartedly and do so at every opportunity….but….it isn’t always easy, is it? We are lucky in our district to have amazing G.L.A.D. trainers that help us whenever we need them, but we still struggle sometimes to get it all in. Two of the ways we find to be successful in helping kiddos to learn, and retain vocabulary, are songs and chants, and games! Bonus? They are highly motivating and engaging. (Can we say “engagement” if you are on the 5D evaluation?)
This time of year, many teachers are teaching about spiders, so we thought we’d share some vocabulary ideas for you. Here are two chants that we have the whole class say in unison several times a day. We put them on large charts and hang them in a handy place in the room, such as on the door or on a closet door. They make a great transition activity and as the students memorize them from chanting them so often, they are memorizing the vocabulary as well. To get these chants click on the pictures or click HERE.
How about a game? Here is a game I am using with students in small groups. We have been reading “All About Spiders” from the Fountas and Pinnell LLI Blue kit, and other spider books. After learning new vocabulary through our reading (using our newly learned strategies of course), we play a game to review and master new vocabulary.
To play, each student gets 3 insects. We use plastic insects from the dollar store, but cut out paper ones would do, too. You also need a web. You can quickly sketch one on a piece of paper or print an enlarged clip art web out. The web goes in the middle of the table. Then, the students take turns giving the definition for one of their vocabulary words that you tell them. If correct, they get to keep their insects. If incorrect, the student must put one of their insects on the web. Then it is the next student’s turn. Play continues until all vocabulary words have been defined. Winners are the student or students who still have at least one insect in their pile. The goal is to keep their insects and not let the spider “catch” them if a word is incorrectly defined. If you want to get fancy, you can put the vocabulary words on cards, turn them upside down in a pile on the table, and have each student turn over a card and define it during his or her turn. We often use the vocabulary cards from our Leveled Passages Sets for games like this, as this game can be changed for any theme simply by changing the web and insects into items that match the theme you are reading about.
Well there you go. A few ideas to get in more vocabulary practice quickly and easily. Why don’t you give them a try?