Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Vocab through visual mapping

The other day I was working with a small group, reading a readers theater about a pioneer family.  I thought, this is perfect!  We just talked about how Virginians migrated to the west through the Cumberland Gap, we saw a PowerPoint with photos of covered wagons, the mountains...they will have a great background already!

So we started reading the text....and I realized there were more like 20 words that were difficult to understand meaning.  I guess when I was there age I had a better background on this time period - mainly thanks to watching "Little House on the Prairie"...but kids today had no idea what most of the words meant.  Keep in mind, they read the entire passage fluently and never stopped to ask what the words meant. Scary, huh???  At the end I asked what had happened, and they were able to give me some details - but a giant chunk was missing.

 I circled the words in the passage that stuck out to me as words that they needed more support on with meaning.  Then I started to draw!

Some of the kids had no idea what a corral was, but as I drew it out they could easily connect it to a fenced in area.  One of the children had thought that the woman was tied to the post because she didn't get the word "haltered".  So we talked about the halter of a horse as the method for which they would have tied the horse up.  Think about the misunderstanding going on there - wouldn't the story be different with a woman who is tied up vs. a horse?  Another word that was confusing was a sod house - "house were made out of dirt...oh like the Pueblos" (good connection!) 

We continued by looking at how stared and started are often confused (a mistake several of them made while reading the story).  We talked about what acre means, a standoff, and territory. 
After this visual map, we reread the readers theater and reflected again.  The children were able to tell me so much more the second time...clearly they had a different picture in their mind after the visual map.

Hope this helps you one day!

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