Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Vocabulary (Maria Mallon)

Question: Dear Maria,
Rumor has it that you are the Vocabulary specialist! Could you please share some of your strategies that you use? Are they adaptable to the upper grades?
Can't wait to learn from you,

Dear Christy,
I don't know about being a vocabulary specialist but I do love to teach children now words new words and how to use them. Our team was fortunate enough this summer to work with dayle and start our own Unit of Study featuring vocabulary from our Star Books(to download the entire unit go to the Vocabulary widget on the left side of the blog, These are selected books that we read several times a month to our pre-emergent readers. These books include: The Three Little Pigs, Caps for Sale, The Three Billy Goats Gruff and several other classic tales. Within these books, we found a wealth of vocabulary words both written and implied from the story. The words are not necessarily the longest or hardest to pronounce, but words that the children may use in their every day language and/or writing. For instance, this week we just finished "A Pocket for Corduroy" and some of the words were: patiently, dilemma, damp, and hesitate. We learned how the words were used in the story, gave the children some examples and non examples of using the words in certain scenarios and showed them a picture of what the word means. The follow up comes when I use the words as many times during the day as possible. For instance, during the recent fire drill I told my class while they were waiting to go back in, "I like how patiently you are waiting." This gave them a situation to remember and hold on to the word. I also chart the situations they tell me when they use the word at home. A child told me this week that he had a dilemma about what Halloween costume to wear, red Spiderman or black Spiderman. I also send home a list of the new words for the week in my newsletter.

To try it out, go through the book of the month and find four words that you think your students would benefit from knowing and find two inferred words from the story. Write the six words on index cards. Find the definitions of the words and give some examples of how to use the words. Work on two words a day. I copy the cover of the book and put the index cards under the cover for quick reference. Use the words in the classroom and you'll see how quickly your students will use them and how impressed other people will be when they hear your students speak and see these words in their writing!! Don't hesitate. :)

1 comment:

dayle said...

I love the way when I go into your classroom that if anyone uses a vocabulary word, all the children repeat the word right after it's said. It brings attention to the word without interupting the flow of the conversation. I can't wait to see your vocabulary scores because your children are really using the words! You are a role model for us all! dayle