KinderGals: Developing Vocabulary

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Developing Vocabulary

Vocabulary is essential to success! This post shares how we teach our kids academic vocabulary as well as content vocabulary.
Well the day finally arrived. The day after Matthew turned 5 months old Megan headed back to kindergarten. We are all so glad that she took an extended time off to be with him. Not only was it good for Matthew, it was good for Megan to see that she “wanted” to work. She loves teaching and would miss it terribly if she was home all day. Her first day back was great. She was super excited about what her kids could do. Ms. Kristi did a great job getting them this far!Megan received lots of love letters during writer’s workshop. Man….can they write! So where does this leave me now that my shopping partner is back at work? At home with Matthew! He is such a joy, but lots of work. I know now why young people have babies! I am so excited that I was able to cut back on work this year to stay home with him 3 days a week and only travel Sunday to work Monday and Tuesday!
Last week Megan started preparing herself for going back to work. She ironed her clothes, loved on Matthew and got some “teaching” things together. She decided that she needed to have some things that she did every week, repeating the same basic idea. She doesn’t want to have to stay really late prepping materials. Here are a few of the things she put together to help with vocabulary.

Academic Vocabulary

Each week we pick one math word and one literacy word that we want to take to a deeper level of understanding. These are the words that are REALLY important for the kids to understand. My kindergarten team worked together to determine which words they need a firm understanding of to be successful in first grade. Then, each week we spotlight those words. First, we have the kids draw a picture of what the word means. This is called a nonlinguistic representation of the word.  Next, we all meet together on the carpet. We talk about the word and come up with "our definition". We should NOT give the kids a definition. Instead we want them to create their own. This is evidence of a deep understanding of the word.
Here is Megan's idea...Instead of creating the chart each week on chart paper, just make it on a piece of poster board. She laminated the board so that she can use the same board every week. Children’s non linguistic representation of the word is drawn on post it notes and stuck to the chart. She attaches paper to the other section to have the children generate a definition. You can get the letters here to make the title "Vocabulary" for your chart.
Both the Literacy and Math Academic Vocabulary are in this bundled unit.

Content Vocabulary

Content Vocabulary are Tier 3 vocabulary words. That means they are words that you need if you are engaged in the topic.  It is very important to develop content vocabulary in order for children to comprehend nonfiction text. We use an ABC Chart for organizing our Content Vocabulary.
Each week, during our word work time, we brainstorm content vocabulary words. If it is a new unit, the children are sharing words from their existing knowledge of the topic. The second and third weeks of the unit, the children are sharing words that they are learning.  As the children share words, I write them on post it notes and attached them to the abc chart by their beginning letter.
As I am writing them on the post it notes, the kids are adding the words to their Unit Vocabulary Notebooks. These are a great tool for writing!
 Megan made her chart on two sheets of poster board that she taped together after she laminated them. (She was really quick to tell me that hers was cuter!  Smile)
This idea is part of our Pack It! Learn It! unit.
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krazy4K said...

Great post!!! So glad you are able to be with Matthew some too this year!!! Can't wait to see you in franklin tn in November!!! Love you Kim!!! You rock!!!

Teaching in the Tongass said...

I was fortunate enough to have my mom watch my baby when I went back. She was able to bring him in for me to nurse him every day for the first 6 months! It helped me to know I would see him in a few hours, which allowed me to focus on teaching and not worry about being a "bad mom." Also, the reminder that they are only little once helped me remember that no matter how long I stayed at work, there would always be more to do, but that I was missing valuable time with my baby that couldn't be given back.

Teaching in the Tongass

Jennifer said...

Loving the monkeys!
Rowdy in First Grade

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