Dear Fourth Grade Teachers

Discussion in 'Fourth Grade' started by MissKH81, Nov 9, 2007.

  1. MissKH81

    MissKH81 Rookie

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    Nov 9, 2007

    I teach third grade and I need your advice. Personally, I do not think it is effective for students to learn new vocabulary by simply recording definitions from a dictionary. We use new words in sentences, learn from context clues, draw pictures, and act out our new words. I only slightly touch on dictionary skills in order to make sure they understand the concept. However, do you feel that I should have them search for words in a dictionary more often to prepare them for fourth grade and above? THoughts?
     
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  3. Hamster

    Hamster Comrade

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    Nov 9, 2007

    You can introduce the dictionary. Have them race to look up words as a game. They tell the page number and column. They love this and learn quickly how to look up words.
     
  4. MissKH81

    MissKH81 Rookie

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    Nov 9, 2007

    Thanks "hamster!" I actually already play this game. But as a fourth grade teacher, do you find that dictionary skills should be "absolutely mastered" by fourth grade? I only do it a few times and they are pretty slow at looking for guide words and finding the definitions.
     
  5. michelb366

    michelb366 Comrade

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    Nov 9, 2007

    The third grade teacher at my school starts 4th quarter with dictionary skills. The kids all receive a free dictionary from the Elk's (or some other group). She gives them one word per night for homework. The kids must look up one word every night and then tell her the meaning in the morning. I'm thrilled, because by the time they come to me, they are fluent at using guide words and looking up words.
     
  6. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    Nov 9, 2007

    When editing during writer's workshop, I make each kid look up at least one word in the dictionary. When I edit the spelling, I just circle the word and say "look up" and they know what to do now.

    I try to have them use the thesaurus as well. I think doing it this way works well, since it has a real purpose and they are usually invested in publishing their work. My 4th grade and higher 3rd kids do look up words in the dictionary for vocab hw though.
     
  7. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    Nov 10, 2007

    I really appreciate it when my 4th graders come to me with a comfortable knowledge of how to use a dictionary. It really helps that they know what guide words are, and in writing especially, that they can go to the shelf and look words up on their own when they are unsure how to spell a word.
     
  8. Miss Starr

    Miss Starr Companion

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    Nov 11, 2007

    One of my spelling choice activities is Dictionary Discovery. Students look up the words in the dictionary. They read the definition and only record the part of speech and the guide words on the page.
     
  9. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    Nov 12, 2007

    Well, perhaps you can still teach the features of the dictionary and enrich them beyond that vocabulary-wise. Sometimes students do learn some words from the dictionary, though I do all kinds of enrichment activities to get the class to really understand what they are studying. :)
     
  10. TampaTeacher

    TampaTeacher Comrade

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    Nov 15, 2007

    I agree that dictionaries aren't great for vocab mastery. Of course, they are valuable for learning to spell words. I'm going to have to put more dictionary work into my lessons, because I notice lots of my students just look for the first two letters (heck, sometimes only the first letter) and then scan every page for their word.

    For instance, if they were looking up the word "thorough," they might find a page with "th" words and just start skimming for pages - even if the page they started on was full of "tha" words.
     

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