January 3, 2013 VG Teaching Resources Vocab & ELA Res, VG Writing with Vocabulary 6-12, VG Seasonal Activities Winter, VG Writing with Vocabulary K-5
New Year’s Resolutions: Reiterate, Reflect and Record!
By: Vocab Gal
I have learned that in order to really keep a resolution, it has to become a habit. Therefore, I have made resolutions that I can easily turn into habits for both my students and myself.
1. Reiterate the words of the day.
In my classroom, I teach two vocabulary words a day. I often feel that after the five to ten minutes of reviewing the two words of the day, we do not think of them again until the last moment before the bell rings, and I review them. Starting in January, I am going to star the two words of the day on the vocabulary charts I have hanging in my classroom (see my post about the charts here). Then, I will make it a point to use each word three times during class. This quick vocabulary activity reinforces the definitions and also helps students really learn the words as they are emphasized over and over. Plus, I will offer double stickers to any student who incorporates the word in our classroom conversation.
In order to keep myself accountable, I will ask the students to keep track of my word usage. If I do not use each word three times, I will have to compose sentences using at least three other vocabulary words (plus the two of the day) about my fallibility, and I will present the sentences to the class the following day. Therefore, regardless of whether or not I can meet the goal for the day, I will be reinforcing words. I will keep you posted on how my “words of the day reiteration” is working.
2. Show that I am still learning.
Too often, I take for granted that students can easily learn our vocabulary words, because I know them so well (having taught the same words for the last five to ten years, I can immediately tell you the definitions of everything from ameliorate to zenith).
I need to show my students that despite being “Vocab Gal,” I am still learning. The dictionary.com app on my phone keeps me humble as I know their word of the day only about 50% of the time. I will share this with my students, as well as admit that I did not know what bereft or supercilious or many other words meant until I started teaching vocabulary. Now, the word provincial just comes naturally to my brain because I fully understand the meaning. Ultimately, I hope that through both resolutions #1 and #2 I can stress to students that the more they use the words, the more they become a part of their lexicon, even if they originally sounded difficult.
3. Hold the class accountable for the vocabulary in their reading.
Most days we start class by reading independently for five minutes before reviewing the vocabulary words of the day. Often, students will excitedly share when they read a vocabulary word, and they earn a sticker for their efforts. Starting in January, I want every student to keep track of their vocabulary in their independent reading book as well as new words they want to learn. I created a bookmark handout for students to keep track of words and surrounding context clues (I’m going to copy it onto cardstock for better bookmarks). There are 15 slots on the bookmark-I think I will make 10 mandatory for each book, and let the last five be optional for those who want to earn a star on the ceiling (see my post about earning stars here). I will also give myself a bookmark and record when I read our vocabulary or new words I do not know in my reading (reinforcing resolution #2). To earn credit, students can record on the bookmark either our vocabulary words or new words they want to learn. I think I will ask students to complete two or three bookmarks per grading period.
Overall, my resolutions will hopefully help my students to learn their words more deeply and be more aware of how vocabulary is embedded in their reading.
Common Core State Standards:
Reading Literature/Informational Text Standard 4. Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text
Speaking & Listening Standard 6. Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and communicative tasks
Language Standard 4. Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown words
Language Standard 5. Demonstrate understanding of word relationships and nuances in word meaning.
Language Standard 6. Acquire and use accurately a range of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge
Stickers and Stars
Toss the Vocabulary