Sunday, April 22, 2012

Active Learning build vocabulary

Let's talk...'s a make or break thing.  In my experience as a mother, it's pretty easy to build vocabulary with little talking to them.  You talk to them from the minute they are born - at the grocery store, the park, the mall...You talk to them when you read aloud books and they look at you with their sweet little eyes and say "what that mean mommy?"  You talk with them when you watch TV, movies, over dinner and at bedtime. Words surround your life...

But so many of our kids are lacking this experience.  Without is a problem in many households across the United States - mainly in our homes that struggle with poverty.  So how do you recreate those years of talking about words in your classroom? 

I think you have to be very mindful of how you do it.   I have a selection of students with a weak vocabulary who I purposefully meet with at least three times a week.  We read through a short passage and highlight words that we don't know the meanings for.  Then...just like I did with my babies, we talk.  We talk about what they mean, when you would see them...some times we "Google" the word to find an image to put a visual in their head.  Here's the thing - I do nothing to prepare for this except pick a passage on their reading level.  I have found that pre-teaching 8 prescribed words is not very effective for language weak kids.  For one thing, these may not be the words that they struggle with. For another, they have no ownership on the task. 

Some other activities that promote ownership of the language and exposure include Word Splashes & Graffiti walls which I have blogged about previously. 

This week I'm going to highlight a few other ways to get meaningful language embedded in our classrooms on a daily basis.

  • Using Inside-Outside Circles
  • Sort Cards
  • Five Card Draw
  • Tic-Tac-Toe
Hope they will help you engage your students.

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