Virtual PD is one of my favorite parts of twitter. Being able to extend my learning community continues to help me grow as a professional. As teachers, we all have our favorite areas to explore. I am constantly on the hunt for vocabulary or word work ideas for my classroom. As I read Kelly Gallagher’s string of tweets from the latest NAEP report on vocabulary, I was intrigued with his big thinking from the article. One consistent belief that I have had is the importance of vocabulary development not in isolation.
I am always energized when I am able to find tweets, blogs or articles that support my thinking about the integration of word work throughout the school day. I continue to encourage my students to be wordsmiths by collecting and thinking about vocabulary. I rarely give my students a list of focus vocabulary words. Each time I introduce a new focus skill, my students know that they will need to gather key vocabulary. All of my students collect vocabulary as we begin a unit and then as a class we discuss the words. The students choose 1-3 words and write them on post it notes. We then gather the words into groups and begin to look for repetition. After a conversation about the words, we discuss and choose our unit words. Finally we have a focused list for our new unit. When students have ownership of their words, this connection helps them to understand the importance of vocabulary. Often students know exactly where they found the word and can use the context to help them with new meaning or as a reference if they forget. Being a wordsmith throughout the day is an important role.