Thursday, June 27, 2013

Word Nerds Book Study: Chapter 3 {& Freebie!}

 As you read this, I am likely sitting in my car, headed to West Virginia to see The Oldest's college and get her registered for her first day as a college freshman in August! (How in the world did that happen??) So as I wonder, quite frequently I am sure, "Are we there yet?" (because we're DRIVING for 9 hours!), enjoy this post about our summer book study!

Once again I am linking up with Sabra from Teaching with a Touch of Twang for our summer book study of Word Nerds: Teaching All Students to Learn and Love Vocabulary. Don't forget you can preview the entire book online at Stenhouse and there is this handy little study guide you can use as well. 

I will offer some summary and overview of each chapter and put my thoughts and reflections in blue italics so you will know what is coming directly from me. To find all of my posts for the book study, click here.
 Chapter Three: Making Introductions
Chapter two really left me hankering for more information about the vocabulary routine set up by the authors. Almost makes me wish school was back in session so I could get going on this (almost...but not quite).

In Chapter Three, we get a real look at how the authors set up, introduce and begin their vocabulary instruction in their classrooms. They offer two different scenarios, for K-3 in the Primary realm and 4-5 in the intermediate (I would argue that 3rd could fall into either category--where I am, it is mostly considered to be intermediate). The routines are very similar, just adapted a bit for the younger students.
Primary Vocabulary
1. Prediction - Students gather together in a common space and engage in a cloze activity put together in a pocket chart. The teacher engages students in a lesson to predict which words fit with the sentences on the chart. The teacher says "My turn (word), your turn_____" and the students fill in the same word. Then they break down the syllables (very important I think, because many kids still don't "get" syllables), before students predict the meaning of the word. You can get as in depth as you like here, even going into the part of speech that the word is before giving a kid-friendly definition for the word.
2. Trying the Words -- Once the students have gone through the prediction activity, they can complete the cloze activity. You can add in total response techniques here as a student makes a guess as to which word belongs in the sentence--students can agree or disagree with a thumbs up or down and sideways if they aren't sure if it is correct. The teacher doesn't simply say "yes you are right" or "not that's not right" but rather asks the students to point out context clues that helped them decide if that word is the right fit. Additionally the teacher teaches the students to try the word out in EACH sentence before making a final decision in order to decide which word is really the best fit for each sentence.  I love that the teacher has them look at all of the possibilities before they make a final determination because so often on tests the kids are given two words that are so close and both could be accurate depending upon the context but only one is really the correct answer. It's important to teach the kids how true this is for vocabulary too. I emphasize this during our weekly reading practice that even if we know answer A fits, we still have to read B-D just to make sure. It makes perfect sense to do that with vocabulary too.
3. Primary Vocabulary Journals -- A two pocket folder with brads that contains a bunch of modified Frayer vocabulary model sheets. This is gone through with the students so that they are putting down the right information for the words. Students are directed to use a "7-Up Sentence" (a sentence with at least 7 words) for each word to ensure they are hitting as many parts of speech as they can to describe the word. At the beginning of the year, the teacher guides everything including the picture but as students gain confidence and skill with the routine, they can create their own graphic. Love the idea of a 7-Up sentence. Many of my ELL kids this past year (4th/5th graders) wanted to give me 2-3 word very basic sentences. I'm going to steal this idea.
Intermediate Vocabulary
1. Sentence Prediction -- This is very similar to the Primary cloze activity except the kids don't see the word cards, instead they use their vocabulary schema to predict the words that might fit in there. LOVE THIS IDEA for big kids! It really makes use of all of the previous vocabulary they have encountered.
2. Word Prediction --  Next you pull out the actual vocabulary word cards and go through a similar process as in the Primary lesson where the students try to decide which word fits in the sentence. The teacher NEVER gives the correct answer during this portion of the lesson but rather allows the children to explore the words by trying out their meanings and how they fit in the context of the sentence. LOVE!
3. Trying Out the Words -- This is the time when the children actively try to figure out which words belongs in each sentence. Using test-taking strategies like Process of Elimination, the students decide where the word fits best. They even turn it into a game by saying "Ding, ding, ding!" if they think the word fits and "waa, waa, waa" if its wrong. What kid wouldn't love playing a game like that??
4. Vocabulary Journals --  Again this is very similar to the primary version although the kids are able to come up with their own sentences if they feel ready. They are also welcome to use the sentence from the cloze activity.  If I was doing this with intermediate kids, I would likely have them use the cloze sentence and try to come up with another sentence on their own, at least at the beginning of the year. This would ensure they had a sentence that was accurate and provide them with some background to help them create the new sentence. Perhaps by mid-year this step wouldn't be needed but I can think of several kiddos in my classes over the past couple of years that would have likely benefited from having both sentences.

Investments in Vocabulary
While the authors are quick to point out that this process is time consuming, they also advocate for its use. So much happens during a word study lesson! The students are studying affixes, parts of speech and making connections between words. That instructional time is really giving you a bang for your buck. Kids get used to the routine really quickly so what might take 30 minutes at the beginning of the year will take only 10-15 as the year progresses as the kids are used to playing with words.    
If I hadn't been sold already (and I was), I definitely would be now as we got a glimpse of how the routine looks in both of these teachers' classrooms. I love the idea of the cloze activity because students generally like them and what's best, the kids are really leading the learning because they are using what they already know about words. The teacher is more or less acting as a "Vanna White" and moving the cards around as kids are making their guesses and predictions. So much of the learning is active as the kids love to guess and adding the game show sound effects is sure to excite even the most reluctant of learners.

Here's a copy of a modified Frayer model for use as your Vocabulary Journal! I added the part of speech to the  definition section and for sentence, I made it a 7-Up sentence!

Stay tuned for my thoughts and reflections on Chapter 4 next week!
The Caffeinated Teacher

1 comment:

  1. Hi! I am one of your newest followers! I have been reading your posts about Word Nerds and I am excited to start it in my classroom. Do you have the freebies located anywhere else other than Scribd? I can't seem to download them and I would love to use them in my classroom.