Saturday, June 22, 2019

Vocabulary Activities

I think teaching vocabulary is one of the most important things we do. Studies have shown over and over and families are just not talking to each other like they used to. Some parents are working and only spend a few hours with their kids on weekdays. Some families all have their own devices and are not having "real" conversations with each other. And we also know from the research that our Title 1 students are being exposed to a far less quantity of words than students who are growing up in more affluent neighborhoods.

So how do we close those gaps. Because if you don't know what a word means when you are reading or listening to a story, your comprehension will be limited. I believe vocabulary has to be both explicitly taught and used daily. People have made fun of me because I say we are working "independently". Or that is a "privilege". Or it is "imperative" that we do this. They think I am talking too far above my student's level. But you know what, they learn those words and begin to use them in their own conversations.

1) Explicitly teaching the words: every day we do a whole group reading warm-up which includes a new vocab word and a visual to help them remember.

2) Poetry-poets have to use a very succinct set of words because they do not have the amount of text that a book author has. We read the same poem every day for a week and go over any unknown words. 

3) Frayer Models: if the word lends itself to this model I can demonstrate it on the Smartboard or some years I made vocabulary journals which had blank models for them to fill out. My favorite part of this graphic organizer is the non-examples-you have to understand what a word means well to give examples of the opposite.

4) Vocabulary Runway Show: I assign a word to each child and they dress up as that word. We perform this for parents. What I love about this activity is that we practice during class so students are not just learning their own word, but everyone's word. They have that visual of their costume in their minds

5) Vocabulary Block Party-students are each assigned a word and they are that word as they mingle at our block party. So "affluent" and "wealthy"may meet up and discover they are antonyms. Again, they learn many different words in just one activity.

What kind of activities do you love to use in teaching vocabulary?

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