July 11, 2015

Word Nerds Book Study Part 2 & 3

Word Nerds Chapter 2: Classrooms That Foster Word Confidence & Chapter 3 Making Introductions


First off, I should apologize for the late post. As you may have noticed from my last entry... it's been a rough few days. However, I can happily say I have snapped out of my summer guilt. I have made a nice little schedule to ensure that I am relaxing and working an appropriate amount. Also, I bought a new car which makes me a pretty happy gal! 
So to jump in, here are my thoughts on Chapter 2 & 3 of Word Nerds: Teaching All Students to Learn and Love Vocabulary. Make sure you stop by Leslie Ann's Life in Fifth Grade to see her thoughts. 

Creating a Classroom Environment That Supports Vocabulary Development & Preparing Students for Vocabulary Success 

Set Up the Room: An important part of creating word nerds is creating an environment that aides, inspires, and reinforces students' learning. Classrooms that promote vocabulary development should have anchor charts and word walls, dictionaries, thesaurus, and computers to assist students in working with words, notebooks or graphic organizers, and a library full of trade books, content area literacy, and small group guided readers/leveled texts. It should also if possible, be a flexible space that allows students the ability to work around the room, in tables or on the floor; independently, with partners, or small groups. 

This is where I'd love to show you all how I am doing this in my classroom, but given the current summer situation, my new room is empty. It is full of possibility so if you can imagine for a moment....this is what I have planned. 


I have LOADS of leveled texts. Both content area based and literature focused. I also have a few resources including dictionaries, thesauruses, and classroom computers and iPads. 

This adorable little nook is going to be the classroom meeting area where we will do our word introductions and whole group vocabulary work...more about that later and in future posts.


Word Choice
In Chapter 1, how to choose the right words for your students was briefly discussed. This conversation is continued in Chapter 2. I have already started selecting words for Quarter 1 instruction. The book recommends using commercial literacy programs such as Journeys or Reading Street, if you have them, along with content area words for instruction. I have pulled my districts pacing guides for reading, math, science, and social studies. Along with these documents, I am analyzing the resources I plan on using during the first quarter to start my vocabulary planner. The planner is a teacher friendly tool used to help layout vocabulary instruction information such as a kid-friendly definition, lists of synonyms and antonyms, and where the word is located in the text. 

Vocabulary planning should include an understanding what content area terms your students should know.


Build a Routine
Establishing a routine helps build student's comfort and a sense of the community. "When we say 'routine', we want to make it clear that we are not advocating boring, mind-numbing instructional activities in the classroom" (pg. 19). As teachers, we all know how important it is to establish routines and procedures at the beginning of the school year, and continue to practice and praise them after. This is no exception. There are routines and procedures for teaching students to be word nerds, which vary slightly depending on if you teach primary or intermediate. Taking the time in the beginning to establish the procedures and routines of how students will work with words will be best for everyone in the long run. 

Here are the 5 basic steps of the Vocabulary Cycle routine 
1. Introduce the Words
2. Add Synonyms & Antonyms
3. Practice Using the Words (whole & small group instruction)
4. Celebrate Vocabulary Learning (whole group)
5. Assess Learning 

In this post (Chapter 3) we're going to focus on step 1- introducing the terms

Primary Grades....
1. Word Prediction: After hearing, saying, and determining the syllables in a term, students make predictions or guesses about the meaning of the word. They also use the word structure to analyze and determine information about the word. Parts such as affixes, root words, or endings such as -ly, can help the students gain more information about the word, it's meaning, and how it should be used. I like that the teachers don't critique or correct at this time. They simply acknowledge, probe further, or move on. This gives the students the freedom to build off of each other, and continue to work towards determining the terms meaning, building skills needed while reading independently. 


2. Trying Out the Words:  During this time teachers use Cloze activities to introduce students to the 6-10 words of the cycle. This was one of the first AHA moments of this book. I can't believe I had never heard of this before, but immediately knew that this is a genius way to introduce my students to new words. 

Fourth Grade Frolics has a great post about creating word nerds. This is part of step one, word prediction/sentence prediction. 


3. Vocabulary Journals: The last part of introducing words includes having the students begin their vocabulary journal. Both teachers use an adapted version of the Frayer model graphic organizer. Which requires the students on day one to write down the term, the definition, a symbolic representation of some sort, and use the word in a sentence. 

This is an example of an adapted Frayer graphic organizer. I will be using one just like this next year for my 3rd graders vocabulary journal. 
Make sure you stop by again on the 14th for my thoughts on Chapter 4.

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