Tuesday, October 9, 2012

How I Introduce New Vocabulary Words {I use Treasures}

Today is a Tuesday.

But it feels like a Monday since we didn't have school yesterday.

And on Mondays I introduce the weekly vocabulary words {per the Treasures Reading Curriculum} so since today was pseudo-Monday we did that. 

I wasn't quite prepared for the reaction I got when I announced it was time to introduce the new vocabulary words.

There were cheers. Lots of cheers. Because they thought we would be skipping it this week since it is part of our Monday routine and it doesn't take long for my little charges to love routines like I do.

I discovered today that they really enjoy my vocabulary routine.

They think it is fun and like a game and they were sad at the thought of missing it. Who knew?

Anyhow since it appears to be such a crowd pleaser I wanted to share it with you so your children can also experience the joy of learning new words.

I start by showing and reading a sentence that provides context clues to the word, but say "blank" in place of the word.

Today's first sentence was, "She grew up in a ____ by the school."

Then I take 5 "guesses" at what the word could be. I love this part because it really reinforces both the importance of context clues in reading and models how to write sentences that include context clues. I also use this opportunity to talk about aspects of grammar that play a role in what the word could be.

Sometimes one of the 5 words is the correct word, but I always take 5 guesses so that we can practice the above skills. 

If the word was not identified, I then write the first letter and they try to figure it out.

Next, I draw in lines to represent the other letters. We talk about the length of the word. If it's a longer word we talk about how it most likely has more than one syllable which means it has more than one vowel.

Then I start adding in one letter at a time until it is either figured out or spelled out for them.

At that point I point out features. In the example in the photo I talked about how the "long a" was actually spelled "eigh." 

I read the definition from the book and then ask a question that helps them connect to the word and make sense of it. In this case the question was "What are some special places in your neighborhood?"

Rather than just ask one student to respond, I have them all answer each question with a talking partner. Sometimes I then ask one or two friends to share, but not always.

And that's that.

After the words are introduced I plug them into my Word Study Center Rotations. Sometimes I have them use an activity from my Activities to Use With Any Words packet and other times I have them write sentences that use context clues that tell the meaning of the word.

Do you teach vocabulary? Do you have any tips, tricks or ideas you want to share?

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  1. I absolutely love this! I usually dread teaching vocabulary but this is going to make it so much more fun! Thanks for sharing!
    Third Grade Tidbits

  2. I try to add some kind of hand movement that will help them remember the meaning. Thank you for sharing your idea. I, too, have dreaded teaching vocabulary words but I knownifnim in to it they'll be just as into it also!!

  3. I would love some ideas on introducing the vocabulary words for kindergarten.

  4. I love that you start with the blank instead of giving the word. That reminds me of "Guess the Covered Word" activities. I do everything else just like you mentioned, but never thought of the blank. Thanks for sharing! I'll definitely do that next week.

  5. I love this idea of introducing vocab. Once my kids have learned their words, sometimes we'll play Hotseat. One kid sits in a chair at the front of the room with his/her back to the whiteboard. I write a word above him or her. The class has to give clues for the word, but they can't say "rhymes with" or "starts with" or anything like that. My 4th graders love this game!

  6. This is such a fab idea! We discuss new vocal throughout the week as per the Literacy by Design curriculum. I think this will really spice it up a bit.

    Thank you, so much for sharing!


  7. Elise, hot seat is such a great idea! I could play that with my older kids! I teach World Religion in middle school, and we have a new vocab unit for each of our religions. I am thinking that this year I am going to start by giving them just the blank list of words as we work throuugh the intro to the unit and have a "What I thought" column and a "What it was" column on the worksheet so they can fill out the vocab on their own. Then we can go back and discuss what the term actually meant and why they might have thougt it was something different originally.

  8. I love this for so many reasons! Context clues practice, generating synonyms, kids learn new vocabulary words based on the knowledge of the group, and the spelling discussion that happens when they have to figure out the actual word. Also, it seems like a quick routine that will surely add to students' vocabulary :) love it!

  9. Do you do all the vocab words at once or just one? how long do you usually spend on this activity?


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