Thursday, July 24, 2014

Bringing Words to Life: Assessing and Maintaining New Vocabulary PART TWO

I said I would post the rest today, so here it is! I actually went to the gym this morning at the ungodly hour of 6:00 AM to do BodyPump (because I'm a nut and figured I should at least get up early a few days a week since I'll be back at school in a month), and then I came back to post this so you could read it at a reasonable time today. You know. If you're being good and going to bed early over the summer. Or if you're back to school right now preparing for students in the next week or two...

Anyway, today is all about maintaining new vocabulary. Too often (and I'm definitely guilty of this), we introduce a word and then don't use it, or at least not intentionally, after it's been tested. How can we expect our students to keep these words in their vocabularies, then? I'm going to go through some activities that you can use in and out of the classroom.


  • Keep some kind of record (index cards are the best) of words that you've learned throughout the year. The card should include word meanings and sample uses.
  • Point out words when they appear in other texts being read. Also, point out when the word can be applied to the text (a character is being testy).
  • Use the words to start your day - Morning Messages, questions centered around a vocabulary word, etc.
  • Find funny pictures from the internet, and have students create sentences to describe it using a vocabulary word. You could even have students vote on the best sentence!
  • Keep a list of words, and put tally marks beside them if someone uses the word or finds it used.
  • Word Wizards gain points by bringing in proof of hearing, seeing, or using new vocabulary outside of the classroom. They have to be able to describe the context correctly to get a point. Points can be used for extra credit or whatever the teacher decides!
  • Another form of Word Wizards is where the teacher assigns specific words for students to find or create examples for.
  • In the Media is geared more toward older students (particularly middle and high school), but students look for words in ANY media - video games, websites, TV, books, magazines, etc. Each student is given a deposit slip where they have to records their name, the word, the context in which it was found, and you can even have them include their source (especially if you're curious what they're spending their time reading/watching). I think I may try this with my 5th grade students!

It's important that students are looking for and using these words in AND out of the classroom to help secure these words into their vocabulary.

Thank you for sticking with me for two days! This chapter may have been short, but it was JAM-PACKED with great information. I think it may have been my favorite so far! Come back next Wednesday to learn about working with instructional and natural contexts.

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