Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Vocabulary Development

One of my favorite books about Vocabulary Instruction is Bringing Words To Life by Isabel Beck.

In it she says: Studies estimate that of 100 unfamiliar words met in reading, between 5-15 will be learned. She goes on to saying, "A robust approach to vocabulary involves directly explaining the meanings of words along with thought provoking, playful, and interactive follow up. Playful...that is right up my alley! One way I playfully review vocabulary is with my own version of this game:

This game is all the rage among the 8-10 year old group now. My fourth grade daughter went to a birthday party this past week and the birthday girl got 2 of these. We can use this same idea in our classrooms to reinforce vocabulary. This is super simple, I just write the vocabulary words we are working on right now on cards (many being content area or science/social studies words). Students meet up with a few friends, an elastic headband and a set of vocab cards. The player pulls a card without looking at it and places it in the headband so the other students can see the word. The other students give the child with the headband three meaningful clues related to the mystery word to help the child guess what it is. My third graders really had fun with this and as the teacher, the clues given help me determine who really has a good grasp of the vocabulary.

What do you do to reinforce the meanings of your new words?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Egg Carton Math

Are you dying eggs this Easter? Here is an idea for recycling the cartons. You need a carton, some small manipulatives (I used little rubber erasers) and the printables below. This game is a review of writing numbers in standard form. You have to preprogram the egg carton with the place value chart written inside. We are working on numbers through the hundred thousands place. Students shake the egg carton with the manipulatives inside. Player one has the top row in the carton and player two has the bottom row. After shaking they see where the erasers land and create the number. Example: maybe 3 landed in the hundred thousands, 1 landed in the ten thousands, 3 landed in one thousand and maybe 0 in the hundreds, 3 in the tens and 1 in the ones places. Then the number written is 313,031. Player two checks his number and then they compare using the greater, less than or equal to signs and record answers on the sheet. (See below).

click here

click here for carton cover

Monday, April 18, 2011

Syllable Review Game

We have State Tests right around the corner! Syllabication is always tested on those spring tests. I don't really have a problem with that because I do see this as a good reading/spelling skill. So, instead of one more worksheet on syllabication I began thinking for a game for my third graders to play. Dollar Store to the rescue! I found this Snakes and Ladders game at my local Dollar Tree. I simply programmed a set of cards, I always like including science/social studies vocabulary words we have been working on. The words vary from one to four syllables. I just hand wrote them since I just needed one set. To play, a student draws a card and reads the word. They clap out the syllables and then checks the back of the card for the correct number. If he/she was correct, they can move that many spaces on the Snakes and Ladders board. 3 syllables - 3 spaces, etc. The kids were excited to see this one at the word work station and stayed engaged. I heard/saw a lot of clapping and counting!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Easter Craft

I have been working my Third Graders super hard. So we decided to take a few minutes for something fun. We made these cute Easter cups which were very easy and fast. I was surprised at how each child made his or her bunny just a bit different. Then their job was to earn eggs for their bunnies by being good listeners, workers and friends. Everyone went home with a stash! Third graders are NOT too old for a bit of Easter fun!

Teaching Famous Americans

How in the world can we find the time to teach ALL the languagae arts, social studies and science objectives we need to in a given grading period? INTEGRATION! I have found the only way to get in all done is to do some creative integration of subjects. So for the last grading period we have been working on a biography unit in reading alongside the Famous American unit in Social Studies. What a natural fit!

I loved using Scholastics: Famous Americans resource book. This book includes reproducible books for most of the famous Americans on my list. They are on a 2-3 reading level which is a good match for some of my guided reading groups. My routine was to read aloud a biography about a famous American during whole group shared reading. Then I was able to reinforce vocabulary and nonfiction biography during small group guided groups. I LOVE that this book also includes songs on each of the Americans. Great for my poetry station and great fluency practice. A win, win!!

My students need lots of exposures of content material before they can call it their own. I love creating MAKE AND TAKE study guides with my kids and try to make them something interactive. For my Famous American unit I have my students make the Famous American paper bag book.

This is a simple book to make. I just take a group of paper bags and cut the bottoms off. I staple them together. There you have it....a book with page pockets. We record the American's MIPS or Most Important Points on each page. Then I give them an index card to draw a meaningful illustration. Must have those VISUALS!! On the back each student creates a bubble map to record other interesting information they learned about each person. These books go home in my third graders' study bags. They can take out each card and practice matching it to the pages. They can also arrange the picture cards to create a time line of when these people lived.
How do you get it all done??