I have long felt that students lack of vocabulary skills that they need to be successful in school and life. I love how using the process of looking at what a word is and is not helps students look for synonyms and antonyms. This year I have a class that are very visual learners and their favorite part about each vocabulary lesson is coming up with a creative picture to show the meaning of the word.
To encourage the use of vocabulary words I tell my students that if they use any of the vocabulary words that we have used so far this year in their writing they will get a Dojo point (They must spell the words correctly in their writing or it doesn’t count.). Essentially each vocabulary word used equals a Dojo point. (You might be wondering what is a Dojo point. Visit www.classdojo.com to find out more. This is a behavior management app. You can use it on your computer or your phone to log the behaviors of your choosing. You can customize the behaviors. I have created a behavior of using vocabulary in their work.) My students are highly motivated to find ways to use the vocabulary. I am beginning to hear my students use the vocabulary that we talk about in CIA throughout the day in other subject matter. They have especially enjoyed pointing out moments of dark humor throughout the day.
The vocabulary routine is typically done in about 8 to 10 minutes. In her trainings, Sarah says the vocabulary routine should never take longer than ten minutes. Below is the process that we go through.
- First I define the parts of the word to get my students thinking in the right directions. This is also when I take the time to talk about the different roots, prefixes, and suffixes that we come in contact with the vocabulary.
- We then read out loud as a class the sentences that are at the top of the page. (We spend a few minutes working on fluency; phrasing, expression, etc…)
- I then ask my students to spend 1 minute thinking and writing their ideas on what the word is and isn’t. This allows for students to have private think time.
- We then spend 3-4 minutes sharing ideas and collaborating on creating my vocabulary page under the document camera.
- I then ask my students to work with their table partner and come up with where we find this word in the world.
- We then spend 1-2 minutes writing down their ideas.
- Finally, I have my students write a word, phrase, or sketch that will help them remember the word.
- One last thing I do is have my students spell out loud whatever vocabulary word we are doing. I want them not only to know what it means, but how to spell it correctly.
My teaching partners and I like to also periodically test our students on these words. We use the following website to create a quiz: http://www.wordsmyth.net/?mode=fm, You can make three types of quizzes: matching, fill-in, and multiple choice. Without signing up you can make quizzes that contain 12 words. So, if you want to keep it free you could just make a few different pages to get all of words for each book in.
Essentially, my goal for my students is for them to immerse themselves in rich vocabulary. I want them to use these words and more in their everyday life. Whether that be when they are speaking or writing. I want them to use rich vocabulary throughout their day. As we use vibrant vocabulary those around us perk up and listen. Vocabulary opens doors and windows to a world that is right in front of us, but not always seen or noticed.