Ideas for Developing Vocabulary
Word walls and journaling can be valuable vocabulary development activities. As we find new words in any part of our day...especially literature...we add them together to the appropriate word wall, so the word walls grow during the year. If dialectical journals are begun in the younger grades through modeling and scaffolding, they may become inspiring tools of independent study beginning in 5th and 6th grades.
our class writes, we take word walls out of the closet and hang them
around the room, so if they need an adjective for "really big"
they look at the top of the size word wall...even if they don't know
the word! I regularly have them read through the words we have gathered.
Sometimes I challenge them by turning the word wall around so all they
could see is the shape and see how many they can write from their memories.
It's pretty amazing how the shapes of the world walls help their memories!
It's that visual/spatial memory! At the end of the year, we draw names
to see who gets beloved, though by then usually tattered, word wall.
No matter how much I love the word walls we have grown, I know that
the value of them is in the creation with kids' participation.
We also do a "Word of the Day".... the first word of the year is always "enthusiastic" because, I explain, it describes them...and then I teach them how to spell it rhythmically by syllable. All of the kids can spell it after that and it pops up often in their writing. One of the best encouragements to use the words in their writing is my Lofty Allocades!
we add words, sentences, and definitions together as we find them. The
words of the day are extra special BIG words that they had to learn
to spell...we practice and review orally spelling the list for about
5 minutes every day. (Distributive practice) Many times we use words
from the word wall. When a student uses one of the words in their talk
or in writing, they get bonus points or a special, silent, "standing
O" from the class (everyone stands with arms extended overhead
with their fingers touching). I want kids to see vocabulary building
as a fun part of every day, all day, in every subject and in everyday
I welcome your suggestions of your ideas!