Tuesday’s Teaching Tip – 5 Minute Vocabulary

Would you like an idea for teaching vocabulary in 5 minutes and practicing in less than 1 minute?  We’ve got it for you today.  On
Tuesday’s Teaching Tips, we’ve been sharing ideas for teaching vocabulary for
the past few weeks.  We shared an easy
way to teach vocabulary through your readaloud, here, and some ideas for learning vocabulary through
Naming Walks, here.  Both ideas were from Patricia Cunningham’s
book What Really Works for Vocabulary
Today we are sharing a strategy that our school uses.  It is considered to be a G.L.A.D. language strategy,
but it has been around for a long time under various names.  The strategy is called “The Signal Word”
strategy and you can use it to teach vocabulary in 5 minutes, and to practice in 1 minute.  

Here’s how it works:

1. Choose the word you want your
students to know.

2. Teach students the word and what it means. Then teach them an action for it that represents the
word’s meaning.  Students do the action while
saying the word and its meaning. The
first time you teach the word, have students say the word and do the action,
several times.  (We also post the words
that are currently being taught in class.) Here are examples of two words we use:

Main Idea – “The big idea of a text.”  Action:  Open hands to show big, then point to brain for idea, then point to left open palm for text.

Evidence – “Proof from the text.”   Action:  Show open book with two open, flat palms.  Then use right index finger and thumb to “pull out” the evidence from the center of the left palm.

3. Throughout the day, randomly say
the word in “call and response” fashion.  Students respond by saying its
meaning and doing the action for it.  You
can also flip it by saying the meaning to them, and they respond by saying the
word. It is called “The Signal Word” because we also use this as a signal word
to set students off to do something.  For
example, “On the signal word, line up.” 
Then you say the meaning and the students say the word while doing the action.  As soon as they are done saying
it, they move to line up.  Using the new
word as a signal word throughout the day is a great way to get it to stick in students’ minds, and using previously
taught words is a great way to review. 
Quick and easy! 

Our school has compiled a list of Key Literacy Vocabulary to be taught by each grade level.  It has the action listed for each word so that teachers of all grades can teach/review the word the same way.  

There you go!  Another
easy, and research proven strategy to really teach and get vocabulary to
stick….all in 5 minutes!

Happy Teaching!  

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