Monday, June 24, 2013

Classrooms That Foster Word Confidence {Words Nerds Book Study}

On to Chapter 2 of Word Nerds: Teaching All Students to Learn and Love Vocabulary hosted by Sabra at Teaching With a Touch of Twang
 See other posts here: Ch 1, Ch 2, Ch 3, Ch 4, Ch 5, Ch 6, Ch 7


This chapter offers some advice about how to create a comfortable space where students feel supported while exploring new vocabulary.  There are tips for routine, classroom management, and design considerations for both primary and intermediate classrooms.

The Importance of Routine

All great teachers know that investing time during the first several weeks to establish flexible yet structured weekly and daily routines will pay off with more efficient learning in the long run.  The authors also suggest repeated modeling of vocabulary activities so that students can understand what correct procedures look like and feel like.

      Classroom Management in the Vocabulary Classroom

      Since some students may come to school without having developed appropriate emotional responses or the needed social skills to work cooperatively in groups, it's often necessary to explicitly teach those skills. Again, some investment up-front in teaching and practicing appropriate academic behavior should help develop students' self-control and lead to greater success as the year progresses. (They even have their students practice getting excited and then calming down again!)

      Classroom Space & Design

      Whether you are teaching primary or intermediate grades, creating a space that is "student convenient" rather than just "teacher convenient" is key.  Some questions to ask yourself:  Are materials clearly labeled and easily available for students to use as needed?  Does most of the space belong to the children or the teacher?  As plan your space with vocabulary instruction in mind, here are a few things you'll want to have:
      • Space to display vocabulary anchor charts
      • Dictionaries and Thesauri in an accessible place
      • Small group meeting space
      • Large group instruction area
      • Desks grouped for quick collaboration
      • A variety of methods for grouping students
      • A designated time for vocabulary development

      The 5-Step Vocabulary Cycle

      The term "cycle" is preferred over "unit" since there is no specific end to studying a set group of words as they may come up again later. As you plan your 10-day Vocabulary Cycle, you'll need to choose 6-10 words. You can pick words from your reading program, content-area terms, or tier two words (See previous post for an explanation.)  Then, for each word, prepare the following:  a kid-friendly definition, a sentence to introduce the word, two synonyms (or examples), two antonyms (or non-examples), an image to represent the word.

      Here are the 5 basic steps of your Vocabulary Cycle.
      1. Introduce the Terms
      2. Add Synonyms & Antonyms
      3. Practice Using the Words (whole & small groups)
      4. Celebrate Vocabulary Learning (whole group)
      5. Assess Learning (teacher created in standardized test format)

      We'll explore those five steps in much more detail in the Chapters to come.
          The modeling of correct behavior reminds me a lot of Daily 5 - and I agree.  If students are not doing what it expected, they need more practice and need to see more examples. Having my 5th graders work well in groups was a huge challenge this year. I'm really looking for some strategies to help that go more smoothly.

          1. How can I help my students work better together?
          2. Do all the vocabulary words for a particular cycle have to go together? Or could I do half Math vocab / half literary terms?

          For more details, you can get your own copy of the book right here:

           And we'd love to have you join the conversation any time! Just click on the image below!
          Hope to see you there! And don't forget - you still have almost a week to enter my Summer Relaxation Giveaway!


          1. Great summary. I've been wanting to read it and can't find the time. :) This helps me out.
            Creating Lifelong Learners

          2. The Interim Management Assignment Lifecycle acts as a guide for interim managers and employers, setting out clear stages of progression for an upcoming contract. This article goes through each stage and what it entails. Click here

          3. Read how proofreading software can immediately make your writing more clear, persuasive and professional. This will improve the effectiveness of your message, whether you are writing a personal or business document or if you are a student. visit the site


          Thank you for stopping by! I love to read your comments and usually reply through e-mail, so check your settings to make sure you have that option available. :-)