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Back to School: Breaking the Ice with Vocabulary Words

Vocabulary-Activities

The first day of school evokes feelings of anxiety and excitement in both students and teachers. As teachers begin planning for the new school year its important to brainstorm activities that will "break the ice" and ease feelings of discomfort in students. During the first week of class teachers should focus more on fostering relationships and building a community within the classroom, than curriculum objectives.

Games are on of the best ways to encourage camaraderie and get students talking! Today I'm highlighting a game I shared last August. Vocabulary Icebreaker is a simple game I created based off an "icebreaker" activity I participated in at a workshop called "Exquisite Corpse". I like this game because it lends itself to vocabulary development and fosters a jovial classroom dynamic.

To play, students are each handed a strip of blank paper (you can use the template I created or just cut up slips of blank paper), and students write the best adjective they can think of (have them try to use their previous vocabulary words) at the top of their papers.

Then they fold their papers back so that their adjective is hidden, and pass their slips on to the next person in their row/circle/group etc. That person writes the best noun that s/he can think of (again, push for vocabulary words here) and then folds the paper so it is not visible to the next participant. The next participant than writes an impressive verb on the slip. The game is repeated three more times in the same adjective-noun-verb order. The final player then adds any needed articles and fixes any verb tense issues to make the sentence grammatically correct. Students can share aloud the most novel, hilarious or befuddling sentences created by their peers.

Not only is this a fun way to see what students consider “vocabulary words,” and you can see the range of vocabulary prowess in your class, it is definitely a great way to foster a positive class community.

 

Download Vocabulary Icebreaker for your classroom!

 

 

 

 

 

Common-Core-Standards Common Core State Standards:
Language Standard 5. Demonstrate understanding of word relationships and nuances in word meaning.
Language Standard 6. Acquire and use accurately a range of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge.

 

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VG Vocabulary Word nocturnal

 

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5 Pieces of Advice To New Teachers

New-TeachersAnother school year means new teachers! I am asked each year to mentor new teachers-a job I love except for all the paperwork involved. I have noticed that I tend to give all of my first year teachers the same basic advice at the beginning of the year –essentially advice I wish that my mentors would have given to me. I hope that you can use this advice to give yourself a little counsel and also pass it on to those new teachers who need it.

 

Click to download the Advice for New Teachers handout!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vocabulary Word of the Week

 

Vocabulary-Words

 

Vocabulary Word of the Week on iWords

Vocabulary Word of the Week Hangman Interactive

Vocabulary Word of the Week Multiple Choice

Vocabulary Word of the Week Crosswords

Vocabulary Word of the Week Word Search

 

 

 

 

Download a daily activities calendar to learn this week's vocabulary word!

 

 

 

Back to School: Puzzle Together Your Vocabulary Words, Grades 1–12

Vocabulary-ActivityI really love the idea of creating and then reassembling a jigsaw puzzle to review one’s words (thanks Jake!).  I am going to print out copies of the downloadable jigsaw template onto cardstock and then have each student pick one of the following options:

 

  • Write one vocabulary word on each puzzle piece and draw a coordinating picture on the other side.  Then link the pictures together so that the jigsaw puzzle has another larger image that ties together all the smaller pictures. Once you cut the pieces out from the cardstock, review the words as you recreate the finished puzzle.

  • Write coordinating vocabulary words on neighboring pieces.  For example, if you have the word “expunge” and the word “extirpate” (both mean to get rid of something) –put those two words next to each other.  Then, on the other side of “expunge”, perhaps write “truculent” because someone who is “truculent” (angry) often “expunges” items. Once you cut the pieces out from the cardstock, review the words and their related meanings as you recreate the finished puzzle.

  • Write your vocabulary words on separate puzzle pieces and then draw a lovely pictures that weaves around all of the words.  On the back of each puzzle piece, write the definition of the word.  Once you cut the pieces out from the cardstock, review the words as you recreate the finished puzzle.



Students love puzzles, especially spatial and kinesthetic who might not always be able to have a physical activity to do while studying words.  Hopefully this is a unique enough twist for students to learn to piece words and meaning together!

 

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Common-Core-Standards Common Core State Standards:

Language Standard 3. Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts.
Language Standard 4. Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown words
Language Standard 5. Demonstrate understanding of word relationships and nuances in word meaning.
Language Standard 6. Acquire and use accurately a range of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge

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photo © iStockphoto

Vocabulary Word of the Week

 

Vocabulary-Words

 

Vocabulary Word of the Week on iWords

Vocabulary Word of the Week Hangman Interactive

Vocabulary Word of the Week Multiple Choice

Vocabulary Word of the Week Crosswords

Vocabulary Word of the Week Word Search

 

 

 

 

Download a daily activities calendar to learn this week's vocabulary word!

 

 

 

Back To School: Vocabulary Sheet of the Week, Grades 1–12

Vocabulary-SheetEvery day, my students walk into my classroom and pull out their Vocabulary Sheet of the Week. They record the two vocabulary words that we review each day and make each word meaningful by writing a sentence that relates to their interests (whether it be their favorite reality TV show or their favorite sports team). They also have to write a mnemonic device or draw a picture to help them remember each word.

I love to encourage students to study by folding their sheet so that one side has the words and the other side has the definitions. This way they can study by looking at the word and trying to remember the definition then flipping it over to check if their definition was correct. 

The sheet is also handy because students who forgot their vocabulary workbooks never have an excuse to not study or not complete the activities with us; even if they forget their sheet, I can always hand them a new copy!

 

Get the  Vocabulary Sheet of the Week worksheet for your classroom!

 

 

 

 

 

Common-Core-ELA Common Core State Standards:

Language Standard 3. Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts.
Language Standard 4. Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown words
Language Standard 5. Demonstrate understanding of word relationships and nuances in word meaning.
Language Standard 6. Acquire and use accurately a range of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge 

 

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Vocabulary-Words

 

Vocabulary Word of the Week on iWords

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Vocabulary Word of the Week Multiple Choice

Vocabulary Word of the Week Crosswords

Vocabulary Word of the Week Word Search

 

 

 

 

Download a daily activities calendar to learn this week's vocabulary word!

 

 

 

Back to School: Menu for the Perfect Meal, Grades 1–12

 

Vocabulary-Activity

Everyone has a favorite meal-foods that conjure up fond memories or set one’s taste buds to watering.  Today, I am sharing my updated Menu for a Perfect Meal vocabulary activity. With this lesson students will attach their memories of food to vocabulary word meanings.  How do we do it?  Ask students to write out the items that would make up their perfect meal –and then describe each portion using vocabulary words. 

Students get to write about a subject they love, and then attach those positive associations to vocabulary words-a win, win for everyone (except perhaps a few stomachs that may start grumbling).

Start preparing for the new school year and download the example menu and handouts for you classroom!

 

Get The Perfect Meal Handouts!

 

 

 

 

 

Common-Core-Standards Common Core State Standards:

Writing Standard 1. Write arguments to support claims, using valid reasoning and evidence.
Writing Standard 2. Write informative/explanatory texts through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
Writing Standard 4. Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate
Writing Standard 5. Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, etc.
Writing Standard 10. Write routinely over extended time frames and shorter time frames for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.
Language Standard 1. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
Language Standard 2. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
Language Standard 4. Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown words
Language Standard 5. Demonstrate understanding of word relationships and nuances in word meaning.
Language Standard 6. Acquire and use accurately a range of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge

 

Vocabulary Word of the Week

 

Vocabulary-Words

 

Vocabulary Word of the Week on iWords

Vocabulary Word of the Week Hangman Interactive

Vocabulary Word of the Week Multiple Choice

Vocabulary Word of the Week Crosswords

Vocabulary Word of the Week Word Search

 

 

 

 

Download a daily activities calendar to learn this week's vocabulary word!

 

 

 

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