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Vocabulary to the Core with a Freebie!

I never realized just how much I actually enjoy teaching vocabulary until I really looked at the Common Core Standards and found new ways to teach it! I used to include teaching vocabulary on a weekly basis with what our reading series provides…introducing new words each week and practicing using them throughout the week and then completing a journal entry using those vocabulary words later in the week.  After looking at the standards, I realized there is so much more that falls under the vocabulary category that I already kind-of included in my lessons, but now I realized how to include fun activities on a more regular basis in my weekly lessons that are meaningful for my little friends. Some of the literacy centers and graphic organizers I used with my students to help cover the Vocabulary Common Core Standards and improve their comfort with using new vocabulary are below.  My boys especially loved the sports themed activities, especially the “Football Vocabulary Vacancy” due to the Superbowl coming up! I will definitely be doing that activity one more time with my little friends right before the big game (and then several times throughout the rest of the year as well)!

First up… my freebie for this week is a simple graphic organizer that can be used on a regular basis in the classroom to help students use new words.  Your students will be “vocabulary superheros” by writing the vocab word, drawing a picture to describe the word, writing a definition of the word and then using the word in the sentence. Grab it by clicking the picture below or clicking here!

Common Core Alignment:

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.K.4 Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on kindergarten reading and content.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.1.4 Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 1 reading and content, choosing flexibly from an array of strategies.


Common Core Alignment:

All Kindergarten and 1st Grade Standards under Language: Vocabulary Acquisition and Use

I introduced our “building vocabulary” strategy with our poster, which now hangs in our room. My goal with all these activities is to get students comfortable with understanding and using new vocabulary and also then feeling comfortable figuring out the meaning of unknown words while reading. The graphic organizer below was used with one of the “amazing words” from the week.  They wrote the word in their Vocabulary Volcano, then drew a picture to represent the meaning of the word and then either labeled the picture or wrote a sentence. I have to say with this activity and the others, I was super impressed with just how well my students were able to describe what a word means- it was something that I thought they would struggle more with, so I was pleasantly surprised!
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Special: This reminds me of my mom gave me a present. 
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Comfortable: Hooded Sweatshirt

My students also sorted word cards during “Root Root Root for the Home Team.” They chose a picture card and then added a baseball hat ending.  The goal is to get them to read the root word, add an ending (ing, s, or ed) and then sort the new word based on if it is a real or nonsense word. We have been focusing on endings a lot in our stories the past few weeks and I know my friends need a little more help with this, so I really liked using this as a practice activity for them! After, they completed a recording sheet showing the real vs nonsense words.

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The “Football Vocabulary Vacancy” was a great activity for my students. They first read the sentence (with a little help) on the football and then found the meaning of the underlined word on the football helmet. Afterward, each student chose a word, drew a picture and wrote a sentence representing their understanding of the meaning of the word.  They did a fantastic job!
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Similar: The bikes are the same. 
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Difficult: My homework is hard. 
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Return: I give back my doll. 

One more thing we did was “Visit the Vocabulary on Vacation”- the students chose a picture with sand and either read the sentence themselves or I helped them read it. They then had to match the sand to the crab which has a picture on it matching the sentence description.  The next step of this sort is to match the picture up with the category it relates to: food, animal, thing found in nature.  They also then completed the recording sheet to show the sorted pictures/sentences.  I’m not sure why but my little ones really love reading clues and figuring out the word/picture, so needless to say, they really enjoyed this activity!

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Of course I also wanted to use our iPads to practice vocabulary and I found a fun free app called Vocabulary Builder.  There are a few different versions of it that include a variety of vocabulary images (all free!).  My little friends had fun with this one- it is very simple to follow! They chose their vocabulary picture they wanted to do and then they simply moved the words to the matching picture.  This app is especially nice for little ones who can’t read because it says the word when they touch it. I also like that it lets the student know if they are correct or not when done sorting. There are only a few different pictures with each app, but they are nice practice for identifying simple words and especially great for ELLs!

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Whew- that was a whole lot on vocabulary, but I have to say I will definitely incorporate all sorts of vocabulary activities like these in my weekly lessons from now on because they really help my students become better readers. Please feel free to check out these activities and several more in my Vocabulary pack here or by clicking the pic below!

Freebie Fridays

Have a great day!

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Aylin Claahsen

Providing resources and support to engage all readers.

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Hi, I'm Aylin!

I’m so happy you’re here! I’m a certified reading specialist who loves talking all things literacy. I have a huge passion for providing resources and support to engage all readers!


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