So we did a big training and staff push for vocabulary this year. As a campus we have been working on incorporating vocabulary for a few years but nothing has been very solid or formal.
This summer when I went to LETRS training I had a super brainstorm on how to “formalize” vocabulary instruction in my classroom. (See that post here…) And when I made the first unit to go with the first story in our basal my team was so excited by the end of the week about how much vocabulary learning happened! So here I am making my 3rd unit for next week and I realized I really needed to update all my followers on how it was going and what the week looked like.
So by the end of the week the pocket chart looks like this…
Look at it all filled up and happy! Now after week one my kiddos pointed out that the sentence cards (see them at the bottom) were too tiny and they wished they were larger. Something I promptly changed for week 2.
Starting on Monday/Tuesday I introduce the vocabulary using the big color coded cards. This is very much an “I do” situation because I don’t want any misconceptions. I discuss, I give examples, the kids repeat after me, we do some silly movement or sound to remember the word better.
Then on Tuesday/Wednesday we break the words into syllables using the syllable cards. And a teammate taught me the COOLEST trick where you put your hand under your jaw and then say the word and the number of times your jaw drops down is the number of syllables…I’ll wait while you try it…SEE!!! ISNT IT SUPER COOL!!! I had my kids all doing it and they were amazed. But the real moment was when one kid looked at the syllable cards and said, “Hey! Those are the chunks!” Hallelujah! They got it! Or at least that one kid did!
By Wednesday we are connecting the definitions to the words and syllables.
And finally by Thursday we are using the pictures and example sentences to make further sense of the words.
Last week I started having them record the vocabulary in their journals. One day I had them just write the six words, leaving some space between each. Then a few days later I asked them to add one thing to each word. Some students added syllables, some drew pictures, some wanted to copy the definition. I didn’t specify what they had to do because I was a little curious as to what they would choose. Especially because I prefaced the activity with “choose something to add to each word that helps you remember the word”. I think I will continue to let them choose because it worked and they were all engaged. In the next few weeks though I would like to build up to adding two things to each word.
All week long I saw children using the pocket chart during the reading station, which was nice. And I even remembered to get out the Ask cards and carry them with me when we were in the hallways to surprise children with vocabulary questions (for a small reward of course!).
So there are now three vocabulary units and I will really try to make one for EVERY Treasures unit!!! You can download a preview file or the whole thing from my TpT store!
OH! And the super most fun for me about making the unit is drawing the clipart! I feel like all those art classes I took in college are finally coming in handy!