Saturday, February 5, 2011

Vocabulary Views

Our school is focusing on teaching reading in all content areas. I have been directed to teach reading during fifteen minutes of my writing classroom. Another area we must delve into is parent involvement, for which I have created reading homework assignments, based on the grade level expectations for grades 5 ,6 ,7 ,8. Those assignments can be viewed and downloaded here. I developed these from a template at TIPS: Teachers Involve Parents in Schoolwork.

One assignment deals with vocabulary. We use this in our class also. Here's our class activity (similar to our vocabulary homework assignment). Our students vocabulary repertoire is not diverse. We've been building fluency through re-readings and note-taking (another blog on that later), but even after re-reading, note-taking, and discussion a Martin Luther King, Jr play several times, two students asked, "What is a protest?" Never think students "get it." Some one or two or more is stuck, lost because their vocabulary and the schema that accompany it are incomplete. Therefore, I developed this vocabulary activity that has really helped my students. The most important part is this one:
Students choose ten interesting words while re-reading the text. I ask for "interesting" words, because I want them to choose good words, whether they know them or not. It sets us up for success at learning words we may not know.

The important directions:
Choose two words. List them inside the triangles. Write two details from your text that relate to each word. Put the details on the lines next to each triangle. On the third line, write a connection you have to each word.

By re-reading the text that contains their chosen vocabulary word, they are finding the context within which the word is used, thereby building their schema and understanding of the word. Every student found appropriate text. Then, through our discussion of the words and their contexts, the students could add a connection: an experience, an opinion, a movie, etc. It has been one of the most powerful lessons I've created. Wowser for us!

This would be easy to re-create just within a discussion or notes during any class. What do you think? Could you use it? How would you adapt it to fit your students and their needs?

Go here, scroll to Vocabulary_2.pdf, to download.

Sheri Edwards
Reflect curiosity and wonder...
Go boldly and scatter seeds of kindness..

Photo Credit:
Question Mark CC 2.5 by Inductiveload via Wikimedia Commons

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