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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Bringing Words to Life: Energizing the Verbal Environment

Hi everyone! It's the last week of this book study (and the last day of my summer), so this is a bittersweet ending. As I said last week, I plan on sharing ideas and activities that we do in class once the school year starts, so it's definitely not the end of "robust vocabulary" discussions here. Just the end of the book.

If you're a new reader or missed a post, you can always go to the previous posts by clicking on the "Robust Vocabulary Instruction" tab at the top of my blog!


This week, we are talking about ways to energize the verbal environment. When I read through, this almost sounded like a summary chapter, but I'll go through it quickly pulling out a few great ideas and thoughts.

Use Mature Language. You don't have to teach every "big" word you use, but be intentional about your own oral vocabulary. Maybe if you do a weather report for the day, call your weather person the meteorologist. Tell students you're proud of how diligent they are working. Use famished to describe a hungry student. Be creative! Your students may pick up on a few of these words without even having specific instruction!

Students can either learn the meaning of these words through looking it up (if you think the dictionary will have a reasonable definition for it), teacher telling them, OR you could let them talk about it and figure it out on their own. You don't have to worry as much about them guessing way off base because these words won't be assessed. If they show particular interest in a word, maybe add it to your word wall so they can see it and be reminded to use it.

Explore Within and Across Words. There are some words that students may recognize in one context but unfamiliar with other ways it can be used. Discuss these terms and introduce them in a new way so that students can better understand them.

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Can you think of other examples of how you can use mature language in your classroom to help expand your students' vocabularies?

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