Long gone are the days of getting out a dictionary and writing down the definitions for vocabulary instruction. I’m really not sure what that taught us, other than hating to write down definitions.
I can remember a time when I was playing school with my younger sister and her friends. Since I was the teacher I assigned words for them to look up in the dictionary. After writing down one definition they revolted. Their message was clear: writing down definitions is not fun, engaging, or meaningful.
April (The Glitter Tree) and I got together this summer and decided that our students needed more direct and indirect vocabulary instruction. We wanted to give our students the chance to use their vocabulary words in every way we could imagine. This month are are working on Fall Vocabulary with our ELA packet. These words were selected through a tier 2 model. (words that are crucial for comprehension and used by “mature language users”) Here’s how we’ve used direct instruction to teach vocabulary.
First up: Vocabulary Introduction! When you directly teach a skill you are telling the students what they will be learning and then leading them through an activity. The teacher is much more involved in direct teaching.
In our packet we have included a vocabulary map to use with every word. Since my kids have used them for a number of years (being a homeschool teacher you have the same kids years and years in a row; similar to looping) I decided to try an interactive notebook approach. The materials needed for this activity are spiral notebook, paper, scissors, glue, and pencil.
Hands-on word work centers make work more fun than a worksheet. Just use a pocket chart or even the floor to match words to their definitions.
Now to the indirect part. Indirect vocabulary learning can be through written language. I can’t help but start with some fun original stories!
Each story has the vocabulary words interwoven into them.
We also have included mini lessons on writing a nonfiction report and a fable!
Now, I’d like to try something new. Ready for a pop quiz? Go ahead. Try it out!
How’d you do? Be sure to let me know!
Oh, and before I go, I want to share with you the super cute book we used to begin our We’re Nutty for Fall unit.
The kids throughly enjoyed this book. Just click on the picture to check it out on Amazon.
We also used fall vocabulary in our We’re Nuts About Fall packet for a Fall Walk. I encouraged my third graders to use the fall vocabulary words to describe their senses as they walked around the neighborhood. Instead of “cool” I heard a lot of “brisk” and “refreshing”.
And also want to tell you about the fun we had creating a deciduous tree by painting and then glueing cheerios on for a textured look.
This was also a simple writing assignment as I had each grade level write something about fall. And wouldn’t you know it, my K5 kids asked a question about fall, and then it had the ripple effect. Every student (except for one) wrote down one question they had about fall. It was a fantastic introduction to this fall unit.
Plus the 3rd graders worked a bit on their multiplication facts.
And we’re not done! Check back later in the week to see what else we’re doing with these fun fall units!