Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Lesson Plan Peek Part 1: Vocabulary

It is far too hot and humid for October. I sure hope it cools off before our apple unit next week! I meant to take pictures of our rock explorations from last week, but time flew by without a single picture. Instead of randomly taking pictures of things, I decided to add some structure to my fall blog posts and start a blog series called,  "Lesson Plan Peek." Over the next few weeks, I will pick different parts of my lesson plan and explain how that piece of our day works. For this first post, I have decided to talk about vocabulary instruction. Here is a quick picture of our "Wonderful Words" display. As you can see, this is only a temporary display spot...we are quickly running out of space for all our words. 

Our district is focusing on vocabulary instruction this year. Research shows that knowing a variety of words is an important part of language development and comprehension. If you need a refresher on vocabulary instruction, Bringing Words to Life by Isabel Beck, Margaret McKeown, and Linda Kucan is a quick and easy read! As an early childhood teacher I know how important vocabulary is; however, it is easy to overlook this part of instruction if not well planned before hand. So this year my team added a vocabulary column to our lesson plan template, and voila! My vocabulary instruction has increased quite a bit. This is how we weave vocabulary into our shared reading is quick and easy and really requires little prep considering the bang you get for your buck. Here's what it looks like... 

1. Before Reading: Pick out 2-3 words that are rich vocabulary words. Think about those Tier 2  words when picking. In Bringing Words to Life, the authors suggest the best time to engage in vocabulary work is after the story. So this part needs to be very quick! Don't spend a lot of time talking about the words before the story. Write them on a sentence strip or index card. Show the students the words quickly, reading them out loud and then telling them that these are some words they will see in today's story.

2. During Reading: When you get to one of the words that you chose for today's vocabulary lesson, read the sentence. "Lily never left the house without a disguise." Explain disguise QUICKLY..." A disguise is a costume." Then read the sentence again... " Lily never left the house without a disguise." Continue this quick process for each word that you have chosen for today's lesson. Again, since you are reading aloud, you can provide the meaning right then and there to aid in comprehension, but then move on.

3. After Reading: This is where the bulk of the vocabulary instruction happens for K-2. Now that you have read the story, students can use the context of the story to help them understand new words (Beck, McKeown, Kucan, 2002). After reading, we do a lot of TTYP or Turn To Your Partner and discuss. For the word disguise, I may have them tell about a time when they wore a disguise...and encourage the use of the target word disguise. For the word whisper, I may have them say the word whisper if I give a scenario where whispering happens (i.e. in the library, on a roller coaster etc.). 

The authors of Bringing Words to Life say this about vocabulary instruction, "The final decision about which words to teach may not be as important as thoughtful consideration about why to teach certain words and not others." We must be reflective and thoughtful while planning instruction, especially for vocabulary!


Chrissy said...

Great post! I'm your newest follower :-).

I don't have space for an a-z word wall in my room, but I was able to dedicate a board for "power words". My kindergartners frequently use our power words in conversation and this always makes me smile! Our favorites for this quarter include "stamina", "clever", "transport", and "aroma".

I look forward to seeing your year unfold!

Kate said...

Welcome Chrissy! So glad you found my little blog. I love your power words so's so cool how kids catch on when you are excited about words! Have a great year!