Yes, you read that correctly. My preplanning started today, and I will have students in my classroom on August 1st.
I've been super-busy preparing my classroom and wrapping up summer projects (and lamenting the number of projects that I never even got started). I'm looking forward to sharing more about that in the next couple of weeks. Today, however, I'm excited to participate in the book study of Word Nerds. This book study is being hosted by Sabra at Teaching with a Touch of Twang, and I would definitely encourage you to check out the previous posts at her blog and link up. This is a fantastic book for improving vocabulary instruction.
Chapter 7 - Spreading Vocabulary Wings
This chapter is all about additional classroom activities that can enhance students' vocabulary understandings. The authors make a few key recommendations.
1. Extend Vocabulary Through Morphology
Encouraging students to analyze affixes and roots can build their confidence as they tackle more multisyllabic words. Start with the most common prefixes (un-, re-, dis-, etc.) and build from there. Once students have experienced a few weeks of studying Greek and Latin roots, they can participate in a "Crystal Ball Word" activity in which they look closely at a word's morphology to predict its meaning. For example, with the word "transportation," students can break it up into "trans-," "port," and "-ation" and think of all the words that use the same prefix, root, or suffix. They discuss word connections as they make lists of related words, and from this one word, the students in the book were able to think of 41 words that share a similar morpheme! These sorts of word attack strategies are valuable to students as they tackle new vocabulary on their own.
2. Connect Background Knowledge and Facilitate Comprehension
Drawing on the comprehension strategies of making connections, this section highlights how important it is for students to be able to have a variety of experiences with words when they're trying to make sense of a complex text. For example, as students are attempting to make inferences from the text, they should be explicitly coached to add vocabulary words to make connections based on clues from the text and the student's background knowledge. This gives students an opportunity to practice using the new vocabulary and adds additional layers of meaning to the words they're learning. This could be an especially useful practice if you're trying to connect literature with content vocabulary. The example in the book highlights how some relevant social studies vocabulary (immigrant, culture, destination, etc) could be applied and connected to the book Grandfather's Journey by Allen Say.
3. Extend Vocabulary Development with Children's Literature
Picture books, with their shorter texts, less complicated plots, and amazing artwork, can be tremendous resources for teaching reading strategies. The authors highlight why this is also true for vocabulary instruction, and they highlighted several vocabulary-rich children's books that could be used. Here are a few of my favorites:
Baloney (Henry P.) by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith tells the tale of a boy in space who is late for school and needs to come up with an excuse for his teacher. As he describes his adventures, he inserts a bunch of words that sound like nonsense words (szkola, zimulis, etc.), but they're actually words from different languages. This is a great book for introducing strategies for teaching context clues.
Max's Words by Kate Banks is a great story for building word consciousness among students. It tells the tale of a boy who begins collecting words cut out of magazines and newspapers. He eventually realizes he can rearrange the words into stories, and he becomes the envy of his siblings.
The Odious Ogre by Norton Juster tells the tale of an ogre who has an extensive vocabulary that he uses as he terrorizes the town. Given the number of multisyllabic words incorporated in the text, it could be easily incorporated into studies of Greek and Latin roots and morphemes.
Word Nerds has so many great suggestions for easy ways to incorporate vocabulary instruction. These books were just a few of the ones mentioned, so I would recommend reading this chapter for some additional ideas. And be sure to visit Teaching with a Touch of Twang for additional suggestions and insights in this fabulous book.
Back to pre-planning! Thanks for visiting!
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