Saturday, August 27, 2011

Word Closets

We are having WILD weather this afternoon! Hurricane Irene is on our doorstep and we may be in for a stormy night. Hope everyone on the East Coast is hunkering down, safe and sound!

We've only been in school for two days but we have already begun collecting words. I thought today I'd share an idea that goes well with the EXPAND VOCABULARY section of the CAFE board.
We have a "Word Closet" in my third grade classroom. This is where we hang our collections of word posters. I take a full piece of chart paper and cut it in half and fold it. Then we hang them on hangers. During read aloud, shared reading or guided reading we listen out for what we call "Pizzazzy Words". These are words that we can use to replace tired words when we write. We categorize them and write them on posters.

Here is a picture of my word closet from last year. I will not reuse these but will start fresh ones with this new class. I want these kids to feel ownership..I believe they will use the words more if they are the ones who found them.

Here is the poster unfolded and displayed during Writer's Workshop time. They were writing small moment stories describing a happy time so the "Positive Feeling Words" poster came out of the closet. I love having them on hangers, so easy to pull out different ones when needed.

Other categories of words we collect are: Negative Feeling Words, Movement Words, Texture Words, Taste Words, Instead of Said Words, etc. Many times we also write a child-friendly definition or explanation beside the word so they can remember what it means. Kids really begin tuning into new words. Let the hunt begin!


  1. Thank you for sharing this idea. I have used hangers to rotate charts before, but this use of them goes beyond that. I can just imagine students going to the "closet" and choosing a better word.

    Do you prepare each chart with the title so that students would tune in to those specific words or was that student choice?

  2. Hi Megan,
    Thanks for the comment! I don't prepare them ahead. We kind of make them as we need them and then add to them all year long. For instance, on the first day of school we started the "Positive Feeling Words" and "Negative Feeling Words" because we were analyzing Stuart's first day of school feeling and we were brainstorming our own feelings. They just kind of evolve as we get more into our reading.