Thursday, July 18, 2013

Word Nerds Book Study: Chapter 6 {+ College Job Update}

 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 6: Celebrating to Validate

I am so, so glad that I decided to read this book this summer! Now that I have my grade level for next year, the wheels are spinning in my mind as to how I can best implement these strategies. The good news is that our reading series has a lot of vocabulary type of stuff in it and the words are actually pretty decent in terms of vocabulary words. They are words that fit the criteria that authors have suggested in this book so I'm excited to at least have a launching point for this coming year.
This chapter is all about helping the children celebrate their vocabulary learning and progress. I am in total love with this. Too often, I think that the "fun stuff" has to be pushed back because of Test Prep or other "more worthy" learning opportunities. However, this process as described by the authors validates for the students that  their work with the vocabulary words is important, meaningful and not just "one more thing we do". I think that is powerful in and of itself. Validating the students' hard work with a celebration is time well spent in my mind.
These celebrations happen before any formal summative assessments for vocabulary. This provides not only a celebration and validation event but also provides the students one more chance to use the vocabulary they have been studying before putting it to use in context. Fabulous!
Block Party
I have to say this one is my super most favoritest ever (yes I am an English teacher and I just wrote that terrible sentence with the worst grammar ever *wink*). It's SO cool how the students practice the words.
In the Block Party the students are wearing their lanyards with their words on them. The teacher has two students come up and model how this party works. The students introduce themselves as their word and provide a definition, meaning or other use of the word on their card. LOVE! For example a student might say, "Hi! My name is [vocabulary word] and I am an antonym for [word]."  After modeling how it works, the teacher has a student come up and begin to "invite" other students up, by inviting their synonyms or antonyms. Once the whole class has been invited, the students begin to mingle and use their vocabulary knowledge to chat with their friends because they are pretending to be their word.
I love this on SO MANY LEVELS!! It is great practice for the students to use their vocabulary IN CONTEXT as well as reinforce the correct usage of the words. This one is definitely going to happen in my room this year.
 There are several other ideas for parties to validate the learning process throughout each vocabulary cycle. The party activity changes but the basic premise stays exactly the same. The students are practicing their words in context for review and reinforcement before a vocabulary assessment. It is a genius way to help the students to really put to use what they have learned throughout the cycle.
* * * * *
I didn't want to make a separate post to update about this but I wanted to include it since several people have commented asking me about it. I ultimately was not selected for the college professorship. I think that a lot of my coworkers and friends here at home thought I would be really upset about it. I'm actually 100% fine with it. There were cons to the position of course (namely moving 9 hours away from The Husband and The Littles for most of the school year) and as the days slipped by without a phone call offering me the position, I came to realize something. I got all of the validation that I needed that I am doing what God wants me to do simply by going through the process of the interviews. It's kind of funny that these interviews were less intimidating than interviewing for my own district where I have worked for 7 years. 
I was up at my cabin from last Friday after my interview until yesterday morning (had to come home because The Youngest had her expander put in at the dentist). I just bought a car from my sister-in-law and had to meet my hubby at his work to get the title signed and such. Seeing him after 5 days apart, everything clicked for me. I knew then that I was meant to stay home and continue my work here...because I would miss his handsome face if I was in West Virginia without him.
So yeah, the job would have been wicked sweet....but I am just as happy to stay here at home. I have a classroom to look forward to decorating this fall and that is all I can really ask for.
I do very much appreciate everyone's positive thoughts and those who peeked in to see what was happening with it. It's awesome to have such nice people (even if we've never met!) to share things like this with so thank you for that. :) 
The Caffeinated Teacher


  1. So excited for you positivity about where you are now! :)
    What a treat it is to get to be close with family!

    The Sweetest Thing
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  2. This is such a fabulous idea of celebrating new words. Even big kids could get into this. :) Thanks for a great post.
    Creating Lifelong Learners
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