Monday, December 26, 2016

Word Walls and January Vocabulary Word Wiz

Hello Friends!
We have been blessed with two full weeks off from school this holiday break. It has been truly wonderful! I spent our first week enjoying all that this season has to offer. 
Along with the fun, I have been able to find some time to finally get some of my school files organized. 
I have a wide range of readers this year, but keeping the focus on learning and applying good reader skills and strategies works for everyone no matter what level reader they are. 

All my readers seem to need more practice with monitoring for meaning. 
Do you have the kids who are great at word calling but are struggling to comprehend any of what they read? 
We call that reader a "Word Plower" in my class. Word Plowers can be deceiving. They are capable word solvers and fluent readers but they are not keeping the focus on the meaning. 

I want my readers to be more intentional thinkers. We say we want to be 3 C Readers. The 3 C's stand for "Close, Careful and Critical". Critical readers think within, about and beyond the text as they read. They give their minds time to process the words they are reading. They don't just plow through the reading. We have begun using "Think Marks" in my class to annotate text as we read. 

We are just starting with two simple ones: a checkmark for paragraphs that we are 'clicking' on. Clicking for us means that we "get it" and are understanding what we read.
If we say we are clicking, then we should be able to verbalize our understanding by answering "who" and "what" about the text
Students may also annotate the text by putting a question mark beside confusing lines or sentences. 
Students are learning that when they clunk, they need to do something about it. We are working on rereading the text more slowly, looking for meaning clues and using background knowledge. Sometimes by doing this, students can change their question marks to check marks and go from clunking to clicking. YAY! We celebrate when that happens!

We have lots of comprehension conversations at our guided reading table. It is so interesting to see what is causing my third grade readers to clunk. MANY times it is confusion over words. Their vocabularies are limited and it can cause major comprehension problems. 
I continue to focus on the intentional teaching of words during a part of my reading block. 
Here is our word wiz pocket chart where I post words, definitions and sentences.

Students record these words in their vocabulary journals.

Here are our vocabulary lanyards. We wear our words as we practice using them in meaningful ways.

Here a student showed the meaning of the word "sway" by writing the word with branches that are "swaying" in the wind. Love the way they think!

The book, Word Nerds is one of the best resources I have found that has helped me put together a fun, meaningful way to add vocabulary instruction to my language arts block. 
It is a must read!
Image result for word nerds

We are working on growing our vocabularies and are posting "pizzazzy words" on our word wall. It is filling up with words that we can use when we read, write and speak. 
This word wall makes a great reference tool for students to use. 


I have gotten questions about this word wall so let me fill you in. I used washi tape to make the grid. Super easy since you can move the tape around to get it how you want it.The banner below the board was one I found in the dollar spot at Target back in September. I glued on the letters to spell: WORDS.  I don't think you can find it there anymore, but keep checking...sometimes they add cute teacher resources in January too. 
I have added a FREE file of these oval letters along with other styles of letters to my TPT store if you are interested in using them. You can click the link below to download a set. 

 I also have uploaded the next set of vocabulary words onto TPT. You can check it out here:
Note: The words used in this set are not seasonal and do not need to be taught in January. They would work at any point of the year. They just happen to be the ones I am focusing on this month!

Questions? Comments? 
Email me @ or comment below!