Sunday, August 14, 2011

Buidling Word Work in the Classroom

This summer, I have been teaching a few workshops on our new Word Study program in our district.  I was excited to be on the committee from the ground work up and now we are getting ready to launch it K-8 for this upcoming school year.  I have always been interested in words not only in my writing but probably more in my reading.  At the workshop, one of the teachers asked me how do you build a love for words in your classroom?  As I answered that question, I stopped and reflected on this past year in my classroom-Wonderful Word Wednesday is a great place to start.  But more importantly I know that I talk about words all the time not only new vocabulary including definitions but the sounds of the words, the relationships, and what do we know/observe about this word.  We had a powerful conversation about WORD WALLS and how if we don't integrate the words into our instruction the words just become wallpaper-invisible to the students. I suggested several ways to integrate the words:

*put the words up on the board prior to the lesson allow a few minutes for students to talk about the words/wonder about the words (my words are magnetic)
*use those words-pull them down as I teach the lesson with the words
*allow the students to come up to the board and move them around -How are they similar? How are they different? How many vowels? What part of speech? Is there a synonym? HINT: at first I had a cheat sheet index card with these questions to help me-after time they just become part of your thinking
*allow the students to write the class definition with the words (4-5 students at one time at the board)
*finally allow the students to move/walk the words to the word wall (allow them to put in ABC order)

This gives them the ownership of that specific word (some students "adopt" that word-become an expert) Very exciting when this happens.  Actually I have had students say, "Mrs. Caplin my word is in our science book."

If I ever have extra time before we leave for specials for example, we play Mystery Word....I am thinking a of a noun that means the answer to a multiplication problem?  For example.

The transfer of word work is KEY! Looking at the Wordle above, isn't the goal to have students gain comprehension and meaning from vocabulary.  I would say YES but I believe the transfer of the words to their writing is also an integral part of word work.  More on this later.....

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