Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Expanding Vocabulary: WORD NERD Style!

Friends, this summer is off to a GREAT start!
One of my very important summer to-do's  was rethinking and creating some meaningful type of daily Vocabulary and Language routines in my classroom for next school year.  With an already "jam-packed" schedule, I needed something that would streamline the new common core language objectives along with introducing more rigorous vocabulary.  My grammar lessons of seasons past have included the Six Traits but something was definitely missing and I couldn't put my finger on it. Then, this past year the momentum seemed better and more structured around the "Theme" that I was teaching.  So for example, if the theme was APPLES,  we would tie in adjectives describing apples and so on.
 After more reflection, it became clear that I had some "gaps to fill" so that my students have MORE consistent, daily opportunities to reach a higher, richer vocabulary with adjectives or any grammar component for that matter.  So I went off to do a little research!  

JACKPOT!!!

Have you read this little gem?
Word Nerds
I read the first chapter and was HOOKED!
By chapter 3, I achieved  full-buy-in.
By chapter 5, I put the book down, not even finished with it yet, and ran over to my computer to begin brainstorming ideas!
Word Nerds was exactly what I needed to clarify my vocabulary and language goals for my students.

So what does that look like exactly for first grade? 

Friends, I am bringing back WORD OF THE DAY in Word Nerd Fashion!  Creating a short interval of time spent, EVERY DAY, for a rich & rigorous "vocabulary workout" is how I plan to achieve such a BIG goal in first grade.  Just like with Daily 5, this needs to be consistent, routine, and most of all, engaging for students.
Looking through the first grade Language concepts, the heavy hitters are common & proper nouns, singular & plural nouns, adjectives, verbs, determiners, prepositions, contractions, compound words, conjunctions, pronouns, and possessive nouns.  My goal is to hit each one of these major concepts using the same consistent routine and trying to reach a higher level of understanding of WHY these word categories are so important to the kids.
Since I had so many ideas swirling around at once, I squeezed my eyes shut and tried to choose the first one that popped out.
ADJECTIVES!  And a week later, this was born!

 I LOVE calendars and planners.  So I decided to make a month-long planning calendar with my ADJECTIVE of the Day focus-


 Now with that in place, I created some anchor charts for my focus wall for daily interaction.
 Here's a peek at the template I created for our 
Word of the Day focus lesson.  
 Saving paper, I am running this second page on the backside.
Next is a more descriptive explanation that provides 
Step by Step instructions:


  I am absolutely thrilled with how this activity turned out! There are multiple concepts and strategies being used all at once and I think that will provide me the piece of mind that I am hitting target goals for each student.  I think my first graders are going to be eager and encouraged to take risks with these BIG fancy words because the framework is designed for all levels of learners.  Even those who can't write up to par will still get to "sketch pictures" to show their understanding.

 Also included in this new unit is a fun BINGO game to play at the culmination of the word study unit.
 Of course, the final excitement comes when the students get to really SHOW what they KNOW on these handy-dandy 
weekly word assessments!

 You can find this new unit over at my TPT store!  Just click on the image below for more details.
I was so inspired by my WORD NERD reading adventure that I have already began the next set in what I hope to be a series! 
 Wish me luck!
Thank you so much for stopping by and catching up!  

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