Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Wonderful Word Wednesday: Check out Wonderopolis

IT is the first thing I should do when I finish teaching  a lesson.  IT is the first thing I should do when I complete a unit, and I am ready to put it away for the year.  IT is one of the most important parts of thinking that teachers should do but IT is the first thing to go when we are too busy, overwhelmed or just need  five minutes to breathe.  I am sure you have figured IT out by now -- IT is reflection.   

So after I arrived home from the NCFL conference, I spent some time reflecting on one particular question that I was asked in our presentation.  How do you use Wonderopolis to help your ESL students?  As I answered this question, I realized that I have never blogged about how important the list of words can be in word study.  I am going to model a lesson with Wonder #152 How Does a Species Become Endangered ?  The list of words include:
*  species
*  endangered
*  unite
*  extinction
*  predator
*  range
*  conserve
* preserve
*  status
*  estimate
*  political
*  funding
*  influence
*  biodiversity

 If I was going to use this Wonder I would choose 3-5 words from the list for my ESL students.  I would choose species, endangered, estimate and range.  I am sure you might be wondering why I chose those words.  I will give you a few reasons for each word.

species:  I always try to chose 1 word in the title to help with understanding and predicting for the article.  I would define the word as a synonym for animals.  In addition I could teach singular/plural nouns.

endangered:  Again it is in the title.  I would teach about the base word (danger) prefix (en) and (ed) ending for verbs.  

range:   I would choose this word because of multiple meanings (math, synonym for stove,
driving range) This would be a great word for context clues practice.

estimate:  I LOVE this word because of the math connection that I can teach as well as the connection with the article.

The other idea that I always consider is if the words could form their own sentence for example: I estimate that some species are endangered.   

Finally I suggested to xerox the article and lift out the sentences with the focus vocabulary, so as I instruct the class the students needing limited vocabulary will only focus on their own words.  As I finish this blog entry, I  realize  these focus lessons on vocabulary could benefit any student if additional help was needed with word development.  Let me know if you try any of these strategies.  Enjoy Wonderful Word Wednesday I know we will!


  1. Love the flow of thoughts in this post. What meaningful learning for all of your kids!

  2. This is great...especially because each chosen word has a specific teaching task. This is a wonderful example of how intentional one must be so that there is a larger purpose to each vocabulary word.