Boosting Vocabulary


I teach in a school with a very high ELL population, so teaching highly academic vocabulary is a must.  I use many GLAD and structured language strategies to help all students learn the words.  We use poems, chants, anchor charts, and practice using the language with guided sentence frames.

Another way I enforce that vocabulary is by tying into my action word.  I used to say, "When I say go, you can..." When I started my GLAD training five years ago, I started using a highly academic vocabulary word from my current teaching unit as the action word.  Now it sounds like, "When I say evaporation, you can..."  A couple years ago, a colleague learned from a workshop about Total Physical Response, TPR.  We incorporated this by saying the action word and having the students repeat us, say a quick definition and do a gesture or body motion to help them remember the word.  This action is always taught to the students at the beginning of the day or week (how ever long you use the same word) so that everyone does the same action.  For example, when I was teaching a weather unit earlier this year, when our word was precipitation, the students repeated me by saying, "Precipitation means rain."  When they said rain, they moved their fingers down in front of them, similar to the Itsy Bitsy Spider fingerplay "Down came the rain." 

I also like to reinforce highly academic vocabulary by changing my cooperative table names to vocabulary words about every 3-4 weeks.  When I taught Kinder my tables were named after the 2-D shapes.  All of my kids knew all 6 of the shapes that were required to learn by the end of the year!  When I looped up to 1st a couple years later, I changed the tables to 3-D shapes to go along with our new standards.  When I moved up to 3rd this year, I was searching Pinterest and found the perfect idea: Pom Poms! I made colorful tissue paper pom poms and hung them above each table.  I then attached a vocabulary word to the bottom of each pom to hang above the table.
See this pin for making pom poms
You can see that each table has a different color pom.  The first table has a blue pom, so their vocabulary word is also mounted on blue construction paper.  I put the word on one side, then the kid-friendly definition of the other and laminated it.  Table two has a green pom, so their word is mounted on green construction paper.  I planned the colors of the tables around Lesson Plan SOS' freebie table signs, since I use those on each table's "math crate" of folders, packets, and such.  

To attach each pom to the ceiling, I put a step ladder on top of each table (any safety professionals out there - stop reading here!) then climbed to the top and screwed a cup hook in the ceiling directly above the center of the table.  I then tied some clear fishing line to the cup hook and looped it around the pipe cleaner I used to attach all the tissue together.  See the link above for how to make the poms.  To attach the word card to the bottom of the pom, I punched a hole in the center of the card, tied some clear fishing line to it, then tied it to a large paper clip.  I then threaded the paper clip through the pipe cleaner inside the bottom of the pom.  Now I only have to kneel on the tables in order to change out the words each month and never have to get on that step ladder until the end of the year when it all has to come down.

What other strategies do you have for teaching vocabulary?  Do you have table/group names, too?

I've linked up with Charity from the Organized Classroom Blog and declared myself a 5 Star Blogger!  head on over and check out all the other amazing bloggers and their unique ideas!

21 comments

  1. I really love your ideas..You classroom looks like an exciting place to learn, so colorful and organized. I also teach 3rd grade, and at times struggle with vocabulary instruction!
    Stop by teaching fashionista.blogspot.com- I'm having a great give-a-way.
    So happy I found your blog.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oooh, fun, Melissa! I just entered your giveaway! Thanks for stopping by and I look forward to collaborating in the future!

      Delete
  2. What a great idea for learning vocabulary- table names become vocab words! I really like that and love the pompoms!
    Lori
    Conversations in Literacy

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love the poms!!! What a great idea! Thanks for sharing!
    ❤Teri
    A Cupcake for the Teacher

    ReplyDelete
  4. OK, did you make the pom poms or did I miss that part? I am half asleep! Now you need to do a blog post on how to make the tissue paper pom poms!

    Jenn
    bestpractices4teaching.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ask and you shall receive. I'll work on it this week, Jenn! :)

      Delete
  5. Great post! I love your use of Glad and TPR techniques. Great ideas on increasing the academic language for your class. I am sharing this on my FB page!
    Lori
    Fun To Teach - Teaching ESL

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Lori! I am obsessed with GLAD - it is best teaching for all, not just ELLs! Thanks for stopping by! :)

      Delete
  6. Hi Nicole,
    Love your blog post. I was an ESL Resource Teacher/Specialist for 9 years at a Title I school in Anchorage Alaska. 50% of the school population was Bilingual. I used SIOP for teaching vocabulary. Also you may want to take a look at "Vocabulary Handbook" by Linda Diamond and Linda Gutlohn, Core Literacy Library. Excellent Resource. I just followed your blog- Hope you will heck out mine (I also share a lot about Vocabulary Instruction. http://arlenesandberg.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your comment Arlene! GLAD and SIOP are very similar in strategies for teaching language. That book sounds awesome, off to put it on my "To read" list and check out your blog!

      Delete
  7. I am so thrilled that I stumbled upon your blog! I am also a third grade teacher and use GLAD strategies. I loved your informative post!

    The REAL Teachers of Orange County

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I love collaborating with other GLAD teachers! :)

      Delete
  8. Love! I've enjoyed my visit to your blog! I'm so happy to be a 5 star blogger too! Come by when you get a chance!

    Blogging Blessings,
    Rebecca

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Charity's 5-Star blogger link-up is so great for finding other amazing blogs out there! Thanks for stoping by!

      Delete
  9. Hi Nicole!! Come by Teaching Fashionista! I have exciting news to share with you!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Great post! Definitely a 5-Star Blogger! Thanks for linking up!

    Charity
    The Organized Classroom Blog

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the opportunity, Charity! This Link Up was a great idea!

      Delete
  11. I teach third grade also! love your pom poms! Its my goal to get some made before school starts:)

    ReplyDelete

Back to Top