How do you teach vocabulary??

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Green_eyed_gal, Jan 4, 2009.

  1. Green_eyed_gal

    Green_eyed_gal Comrade

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    Jan 4, 2009

    I'm rethinking the way I teach vocabulary... I don't think I do enough with vocabulary. I'm currently reading a book called Bringing Words to Life, Robust Vocabulary Instruction. It's an interesting read.

    I'm just curious how other teachers teach vocabulary. How do you decide which words to focus on? Do you use the words your basal highlights? What about vocabulary from content areas, do you spend a lot of time focusing on those words? Do you have weekly vocabulary activities your kids work on? How much time do you spend on vocabulary?

    I love reading how other teachers run their classrooms.. There are some great ideas out there!!

    Thanks!! :D
     
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  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jan 4, 2009

    I use words that come up in our read alouds, words that are content area related, and words to 'spice up our writing'...

    From read alouds, we might find a juicy word...I call them 'expensive' words...For instance 'tremendous' is an expensive word- we decide on whether it's a penny, nickel, dime or quarter word...(the kids decide- there's no science as to how expensive a word is...) Let's say we decide it's worth a quarter...We'll then assign synonyms that are worth the other amounts (maybe: big is a penny, large is a nickel, huge is the dime word and then tremendous is the quarter word...) We now have 4 words that are synonyms...You can make a sheet for this that the kids keep in a vocab or writing folder...'Expensive' word bulletin boards are nice too.
     
  4. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    Jan 4, 2009

    I'm a HS teacher, but vocabulary is a special interest of mine - I'd recommend the book Word Wise and Content Rich by Fisher and Frey.
     
  5. Arky

    Arky Comrade

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    Jan 4, 2009

    czacza, I love that idea.
     
  6. Missy99

    Missy99 Connoisseur

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    Jan 4, 2009

     
  7. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    ...and when you edit kids' writing use the dollar sign and up arrow to tell them they should be using more expensive vocab ( $^)
    ;)
     
  8. mom2ohc

    mom2ohc Habitué

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    Jan 4, 2009

    that is a great idea, I may have to have an expensive word wall :) thanks!
     
  9. mom2ohc

    mom2ohc Habitué

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    oh yeah, love that!
     
  10. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    Jan 4, 2009

    I found a book about teaching phonics and vocabulary to 5th graders that I love. It is part of the Four Blocks writing program. We don't use the program, but the phonics/vocabulary book is very good focusing a great deal on prefixes, root words, suffixes and spelling changes. I also throw in words with Greek and Latin roots and we talk about word roots and meanings (how it all ties together.) The kids really get into this.
     
  11. PowerTeacher

    PowerTeacher Comrade

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    Jan 4, 2009

    I use collaborative learning, Teach-OK in Power Teaching parlance.

    Each pair of students work together. I introduce a concept and a gesture or set of gestures. The kids watch me the first time, do the gestures the second, and do it with me, definition and gestures the third, and often a fourth time.

    I clap and say "Teach!" They clap the same way and say "OK!" and turn to their partners and teach them the definition. We do three run throughs to start with. The next time we do these I will hit any tough ones they want, and then I call out the term, and the kids teach each other the definitions.

    We do 3 to 5 terms each day, and repeat them. It takes very little time to do, but there is no writing. Their retention is quite high, much higher than it ever was when I had them write the definitions.

    If you want to give it whirl check out an explanation here, and or talk to me.
     
  12. MollyT

    MollyT Companion

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    Jan 5, 2009


    Czacza - you are a total star!!!!

    This whole idea is so awesome. I love it. :wub:

    Thank you , thank you, thank you.:thumb:
     
  13. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    It's an idea from a workshop that I've 'tweaked'...feel free to use!!
     
  14. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    I teach lessons in how to figure out vocab.
    1. teaching about root words, prefixes, and suffixes
    2. meaning from context
    3. understanding definitions as appositives
    4. antonyms
    5. homophones
    6. unusual past tense verbs
    7. classification

    They also understand SS and Sci vocabulary by finding the word in the text, using it in their discussions, and writing with them.

    Then I've also picked out quite a few words that students can use to spice up their writing--like words for "said". Then they use them to write with.

    Every once in awhile, we make note of a great word that comes up in reading. We found "discombobulated" the other day and we had to post it on the board. Then all the kids wanted to use it when they talked or wrote. It was actually pretty funny. (Mrs. J, I feel quite discombobulated when you try to teach me....)
     
  15. Calalilys

    Calalilys Comrade

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    Jan 11, 2009

    When my students are learning new vocabulary words they come up with signals to present to the class. For example: They have the word veered and they know it means swirved. A signal that they might make up would be to use their hand like a car and have it make a swerving motion (an s shape). They tell the class what their word/definition is, show the signal and explain how it relates to the definition. Then I repeat the definition three times and they show the signal and say the word. After we've gone through all of the words that day and creating signals, we then play a quick game of Around the World, Vocabulary Bee, Bluff, Pictionary, etc. to reinforce the words. I will say that 85% of my students get a 100% on their weekly tests by creating signals.
     
  16. queenie

    queenie Groupie

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    Jan 12, 2009

    My kids love to play SWAT. I write the weekly vocabulary words from our Reading curriculum on the white board, spaced out all over the place. Then two students stand with their backs to the board and a flyswatter in their hands. I call out a definition and say "Go!" and the student who swats the correct word first stays up at the board and the student who is out chooses another student to take his/her place. Sometimes I use standard definitions. Sometimes I use other categories to get students to choose a word...for example, "Swat the word that contains the most syllables" or "Swat the word that fits into the blank...Joey saw a bear in the __________" or "Swat the word that rhymes with care" or "Swat the word that has a silent letter" etc. I teach second grade and we play this just about once a week - it helps the kids see the words in front of them on the board and try to remember where each one is located for when it's their turn at the board. It also helps with using the words in context or with noticing special spelling patterns in the different words.

    BTW, I love love love the "expensive words" idea! Thanks!
     
  17. oldfashioned

    oldfashioned Comrade

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    Jan 12, 2009

    Queenie, ! LOVE this game! My little guys need opportunities to MOVE as they practice, and SWAT sure fits the bill. Thanks for sharing!
     
  18. lisa333

    lisa333 Rookie

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    Jan 13, 2009

    I like using technology so I put up most of my lists of vocabulary on SpellingCity.com.

    I also think word games are good so I pick different word categories out of Vocabulary.co.il.
     
  19. cat4554

    cat4554 Rookie

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    Jan 13, 2009

    How to use vocab in sentences?

    Good Day - I am a special ed teacher doing In Class Support. We have started in 3rd & 4th grade using word walls, having a word of the day etc. with "better words."
    Is there a website that has examples of how to use these
    " expensive words" in sentences? I have the Weighty Word book but would like the students to create their own sentences. I want to give them 2 - 3 examples of it's usage in a sentence.

    Thank you.
     
  20. Teacher_Lyn

    Teacher_Lyn Companion

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    Jan 13, 2009

    For my second graders, I go over the words with them and then we fold a sheet of paper so it has 6 - 10 squares (depends on how many words we're doing that week) and I require them to write a sentence using the word, underline that word and then draw a picture to go with it in each box.

    So for example, let's say the word is gear.

    The firefighter wears gear to keep his skin safe.
    (Then the child draws a picture of a firefighter wearing gear)


    EDIT: I find it effective because it connects pictures to the words, something most kids are familar with from kindergarten and first grade. It works especially well with my BGL students because they might not be able to write what "gear" is, but they can normally draw the picture at least. :thumb:
     

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