Thursday, July 25, 2013

Word Nerds Book Study: Chapter 7

 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 7: Spreading Vocabulary Wings

Every chapter of this book makes me fall farther and farther in love with it! I really want to meet these authors and tell them how amazingly fabulous they are! This chapter begins with a look at Morphology in Vocabulary instruction wherein students are learning prefixes, suffixes and the roots of words. This is really an important skill anyway but if you are someone like me who teaches language learners, it's importance triples as these children are learning English and have to be able to break words down in order to really understand them and make meaning.

One activity that the authors do is called Crystal Ball Words. You begin with one word, break it down into its root, suffix and prefix, define each peace (thereby giving the students the opportunity to really show that they know what un- means for example) and then create other words that use each part. In their example, the word is Transportation. So you've got three affixes 1. trans, 2. port, 3. ation and the students define each of them and then come up with other words that use that same affix. Genius!
This is great! I will be adding this one to our vocabulary work each week because I think it really helps students when they can make connections between words. Last year with my split, I had such a hard time trying to balance word work (that included morphology study) into our day because of teaching the dual curriculum. I am determined not to ever let that one go again...because after seeing this particular strategy, I am in love with it. It's easy to implement and I can see it becoming somewhat of a game for the students to try to have the most words, etc.

Another activity they introduce uses inference skills (which is HUGE in Common Core) along with the vocabulary. The students have a chart and pull clues from the text they are reading, talk about what they already know about the information in the clues and then infer using the vocabulary they have been learning. 
The examples of the dialogue this students share with each other is amazing. It's so easy to go "yeah, right, MY kids would never be able to do that" but then I remind myself that these classes are kiddos just like the students I serve. So yeah, it's possible once they are truly immersed in this type of learning environment. I'm going to have to be careful because I may want to just work on vocabulary all day!

A final activity provided in this book is predominantly designed to be oral vocabulary development. The teachers created sentences on index cards in "pirate speak" and the students' job was to change the pirate speak into "Rascal Talk" using their vocabulary words to make a 7-Up Sentence.
I think this activity would be hilarious to do in class. What kids don't want to speak like a pirate? Even if its only reading the information off a card?? I could actually see myself using this as a Fab Friday activity because *I* would know it was really educational but I think the kids would see it as more fun than work. 
Overall, this book is the best educational reference purchase I have made all year, hands down. The trouble will be figuring out just how to fit these fun activities into my classroom! I am working hard on a plan of sorts to ensure that I can fit in all of the activities throughout each month because the sheer number of words that students end up learning, simply through the use of all of these words in the activities is amazing. I can imagine how well the students would do on a test if they had all of this word knowledge because they could more easily decode words they didn't know and likely figure out the meaning.

The Caffeinated Teacher

1 comment:

  1. I feel the same way! My favorite "teacher book" in a while :) I like the idea of Fab Friday. I totally want to include pirate vs. rascal speak regularly. I think you're right, they will get a lot of application practice out of it without even realizing it! Thanks for linking up!

    Teaching with a Touch of Twang