Friday, May 24, 2013

It's Official!

Yay!  She did it!

We officially have another teacher in the family!  Our daughter, Ashley, graduated this past weekend from Millersville University with a degree in Social Studies Education.  We are so proud of her!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Word Power Wednesday

As teachers, we know that vocabulary is critical to reading comprehension. It plays an important role in learning to read as well as reading to learn. To ensure academic success, young readers must develop a wide base of word knowledge and the ability to learn how to acquire new words.  So, how do we foster vocabulary development?    

This week we'll explore a variety of ways to engage students during a vocabulary lesson.  If you missed my post about vocabulary acquisition lessons, you can read it {here}.

Let's look at some great ways to record vocabulary words as they are introduced.  In addition to writing the word and definition consider adding the part of speech, sentence, synonym, antonym, other forms of the word, and an illustration.

1.  Flip Books 



Layered Flip-Up or Eight-FlapSimply cut, fold, and staple these flip books.

2.  Foldables

No-Staple Mini-book:  Learn how to fold this mini-book {here}.

Shape Foldables:  These fun little shapes are available from Amber Polk on TpT.

3.  Word Study Journals

Composition Book:  Keeping a word journal requires very little teacher prep work. It is a great way for students to 'collect' new words and refer back to them all year long.

4. Graphic Organizers

Frayer Model: I love {this version} from Teaching and Tapas.

Word Jar: This fun word jar {organizer} is free from Rachel Parlett.  I make several copies of this sheet and assemble into a small book to use for a unit of study.

Vocabulary Superhero: This is one of my favorite free {organizers} for grades 1-3 by Aylin Claahsen.

5.  Word Rings / Word Fans

Cut 2 by 11 inch strips of colored paper.  Punch a hole in one end  of the strip. Hook several strips together with a metal ring or brass fastener.  Students record the word and definition on one side of the strip and an original sentence on the other.

6.  Vocabulary Trading Cards  

These vocabulary recording sheets are great to use for word study.  Click {here} to download them for free on TpT from Teresa at The Common Core Teacher Blog.

How do your students record their vocabulary words?  Please share! 

Stop back next week for ideas to review vocabulary words after they have been introduced.  :)

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Word Power Wednesday

As teachers, we know that vocabulary is critical to reading comprehension. It plays an important role in learning to read as well as reading to learn. To ensure academic success, young readers must develop a wide base of word knowledge and the ability to learn how to acquire new words.  So, how do we foster vocabulary development?    

This week we'll explore a variety of ways to activate students' knowledge before introducing new vocabulary.

1.  Word Splash 

Display a word splash and ask students read the words.  Discuss the words they already know.  Then ask them to predict how they think the words may be related.  You can display the words on chart paper, in a pocket chart, or on a SMART Board using Wordle...Be creative! 

2.  Create a Story

First, ask students to read over the list of new words and circle any words they don't know.  Then challenge them to write a story using as many words as they can.  Encourage them to take risks - predict how the unknown words might be used.  Stories can be realistic, imaginary, silly, or even scary.  Let students choose! (Note: I always add a word or two that students are sure to know.  This increases the comfort level and helps them get started more quickly.)

I added 'animal' and 'wild' because students know these words.  This student began his writing with the two 'comfort words'. 

3.  Word Sorting 
Give students index cards with one word printed on each card.  Students sort the words into categories.  You can provide the categories or ask them to choose their own categories and explain their logic.  

4. Word Association Games
*The Perfect Pair - Give students a set of word cards.  They sort the words to find matching pairs.  For example: protect-defend
*Find Your Partner- Students each are given a word card.  Their task is to find a partner with the match for their word.  The matches can be word/definition, word/synonym, or word/antonym--you decide!

5.  The Guessing Jar  
Students are given a "Guess the Topic" slip of paper.  The teacher reads or displays a list of words.  Student decide what all the words have in common.  They write their predictions on the slips and put their guesses in the jar.  The teacher can select a winner.  

6.  Connect Four  

Write four vocabulary words on several index cards.  Use different combinations of words.  Students work in pairs to explain or predict how the words on their card are connected.

If you missed the first Word Power Wednesday post, you can read it {here}.  Stop by for the Word Power post on Wednesday, May 22, 2013.

How do you activate prior knowledge before introducing new vocabulary. Leave a comment...I'd love to hear from you!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Swing Batta!

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

Our students are challenged to read nightly in a school-wide reading incentive program.  Those who participate earn privileges and rewards at school.  If you missed my post about Hit the Books, you can read it here.  

The most recent reward took place Saturday night at a Senators Baseball Game. To earn two free tickets to a the game, students had to complete the reading challenge every month from September through March.  

We gathered at the field prior to the start of the game.  Students received on-field recognition for their reading accomplishment.  They ran the perimeter of the outfield in front of the crowd!

Then it was time to watch some serious baseball!  I sat in the stands with the kids which was super fun.  I love seeing them outside of the classroom setting.  Their personalities really shine!  

Home Run Baseball Books

Speaking of baseball, here are a few of my favorite baseball read-alouds:

Bats at the Ballgame:  Do you think humans are the only ones who enjoy America's national pastime?  Join these captivating bats as they flutter off to watch their all-stars compete.  I love all the "Bats" books!

Baseball from A to Z:  Learning about baseball has never been so much fun! This energetic alphabet book covers all the bases of America's favorite pastime.  (Great for primary!)

H is for Home Run, A Baseball Alphabet:  As you go from A to Z in this baseball alphabet, there are all sorts of details about the game of baseball and the great players who have played it over the years.  (Great for intermediate!)

Mighty Jackie, the Strike-Out Queen: This is a true story of female baseball player, Jackie Mitchell, who made history in 1931 when she struck out two of baseball's greatest athletes, Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. This is a gem of a story that will capture the interest of boys and girls alike.

Poem Runs, Baseball Poems and Paintings:  This collection of baseball poems brings wit and laughter to America's favorite pastime.  Your kids will love this book!

A Baseball Freebie

Here's a baseball-themed freebie just for you!  

What are your favorite baseball books?  Leave a comment and share and your favorite baseball activities and books.  I'd love to hear from you!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Time To Connect!

Connect with other bloggers! If you are like me, you're always looking for great bloggers to connect with. Mandy from Caffeine and Lessons Plans has created a link-up by grade levels. I added my link to a few grade levels, since I'm an elementary reading specialist. I love sharing and getting ideas for improving reading instruction. 

Hop on over to Caffeine and Lesson Plans so you can link-up by grade level and discover other fabulous bloggers too!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

May Currently

It's time to link up with Farley for this month's Currently...

Listening:  To the TV in the background while I work.

Loving:  Today we held the 'practice' run for The Girls on the Run 5K.  I was so proud of these young girls and what they have accomplished this year. My running buddy said, "I am going to run the entire time, no walking. That's my goal for the day."  She even sprinted the last 50 yards with me to the finish line, as the other girls cheered her on. I could have cried!

Thinking:  The sun has finally appeared.  The birds are chirping, the trees are blooming, and the grass is green. So very thankful!

Wanting:  I want to spend every single minute outdoors this time of year. My daughter will graduate from college in two weeks... I want the sun to shine on her that day!

Needing:  Work, check.  5K run, check.  R.I.P.P.E.D workout, check.  Groceries, check.  Dinner, check.  Next up - pjs and a pillow.  I  need sleep.  

Summer Bucket List:  I have a list of home make-over projects to complete (painting our bedroom, redecorating the family room, and replacing the kitchen countertops with granite).

If you haven't linked up with Farley yet, hurry over there and join the fun.  :)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Word Power Wednesday

Call me a nerd, but I think vocabulary acquisition is fascinating.  I love learning new words. is bookmarked on my computer.  :)

As teachers, we know that vocabulary is critical to reading comprehension.  It plays an important role in learning to read as well as reading to learn.  To ensure academic success, young readers must develop a wide base of word knowledge and the ability to learn how to acquire new words.

So, how do we foster vocabulary development?  Students often don't share my enthusiasm for learning vocabulary.  ;)  The challenge is to create high-interest, engaging lessons.  Join me for this five-part series as I explore a variety of strategies, activities, and games to promote "word power".

I'll start this week by sharing the routine that I use to introduce new vocabulary with my reading students. 

1.  Introduce the Word and Demonstrate the Word in Use:  Relate the word to the concept being taught.  Supply a kid-friendly definition.  Use the word in a sentence.  Give several meaningful examples.

2.  Apply the Word:  Ask students to demonstrate understanding of the word by restating the description, explaining its meaning, or giving an example of the word.  

3.  Display the Word:  Show students the word.  Discuss the word parts.  Display the word on a concept map.  

4.  Write and Draw the Word:  Students write the word and its meaning in their own words.  Additionally, they draw a small picture or symbol that represents the word.

5.  Use the Words Often:  Return to the words frequently to refine and reflect on them.  Point them out as they are encountered in the text. Construct sentences with them.  Examine each word in depth.  Encourage students to use the words when writing or speaking.  Ask questions that require students to say the words.  

6. Play Learning Games:  Play games that allow students to work with the words and their meanings.  

Here are a few great resources for teaching vocabulary:

What do your favorite vocabulary lessons look like?  Please leave me a comment.  Be sure to link up your ideas with Literacy Spark's Vocabulary Linky.

Stop by for my next edition of Word Power Wednesday.  I'll be posting activities to use when introducing, reviewing new vocabulary.  Visit again soon!