Bumping Up My Vocabulary Instruction with Word Nerds

     Reflecting back at this past school year, vocabulary instruction is definitely a skill I would  like to bump up in my classroom. Our admin asked us at the beginning of last school year to focus on teaching Tier II words, such as paraphrase, developdescribe, explain, compare, and contrast. So, each week and sometimes for more than one I focused on one of these words, sometimes two. This helped my students gain a lot of confidence with test taking! They were no longer scared of short answer questions because now they knew what the question was really asking them to do. On the other hand, I think I need to put more emphasis on Tier III words as well to build my students' vocabularies. In Social Studies we constantly discuss content/Tier III words and I use them regularly in my speech for the week and revert back to them in future lessons, and most students were successful on end of the week tests, but at the end of the year I still felt I could've done more even in Reading, but what?

So blog hopping this past week, I happened upon a few teachers who are doing a book study using Word Nerds: Teaching All Students to Learn and Love Vocabulary by Brenda J. Overturf, Leslie J. Montgomery, and Margot Holmes Smith. After reading some of their posts on their reflections of each chapter, I was hooked. This is exactly what my students need! So, obviously I purchased the book right away for my Kindle. It is definitely a book you can't put down. There are so many great ideas and actual classroom scenarios given that you get a real insight into how it may work in your classroom. I've already searched for lanyards for my students on Oriental Trading, but I'll get to that in a bit. The teachers doing the book study are already on Chapter 5, so I had lots of catching up to do and I am now caught up.

Here's what I have learned from Chapter 3 of Word Nerds and decided to implement into the beginning of my Reading instruction.

  • On Day, 1 I will introduce 3-5 words, I really haven't decided yet if I will break it up. These words will consist of one Tier II word and the rest Tier III words. I will introduce the word, students will repeat, I will say again breaking the word into syllables, the students will repeat. I will use my popsicle sticks to have a students predict the definition. We will discuss the word and break it into parts they may know (prefixes/suffixes) if applicable. I will definitely scaffold if needed if they get stuck with determining the definition. I want to make them feel as successful as possible. Then I will present sentences on the board where I will model with students trying out each word in each sentence to find the correct fit. (We may even sing the P-O-E! Oh!Oh! chant) and then students will copy the word, definition, and come up with a 7-up sentence in their journal using the Frayer Model.

  • On Day 2, we will discuss or use thesauruses to look up synonyms and antonyms for the words. Students will copy synonyms and antonyms into their Frayer Model in their notebooks and I will allow my student Teacher assistant for the week to fill in the class anchor chart. I love the idea of students filling in the Anchor Chart and not the teacher. Finally we will play a game with our words. My favorite games from Chapter 5 are Word Charades and Counting Dudes, Bragging Dudes. 

  • On Day 3, we will continue reviewing words in context and if time permits play another game.

  • Finally, on Day 4 we will review the words again with a cloze sentence structure similar but different than day one. Thinking of using this one as a participation grade.  

Keep in mind I have only read up to chapter 5, so I may come back and rework this plan before the beginning of the school year. So excited to keep reading and learning from Word Nerds! Stay tuned!

Check out the following teacher bloggers' links to read their thoughts on Word Nerds:

The Elementary Journey
I'd love your comments!

1 comment

  1. I love your daily plans! I'm working on that as we speak and this post was really helpful! I'm so glad you are finding the book study useful!!! :) :)


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