Posts made in August, 2012

First Week Musings

Posted by on Aug 31, 2012 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

What a week. I met 18 new third graders and a new student teacher. We are busy learning the new vocabulary of third grade. The first new word was “agenda.” The students are learning to follow/know where we are going with our lessons. Another new word was “bioglyph.” We created a fun one to show our life in a drawing. Another new word is “focus.” I am putting up a focus wall for the first time. I think it will be worthwhile. I’ve already seen the kids glance at it to help themselves stay on track.

Tomorrow we will make “hypotheses” in a really cool science experiment. Through “trial and error” the teams will try to suspend a helium balloon at desk level. They will be given a cup and several small items to use to hold it down.

I have explained the meanings of many Latin/Greek roots already this year. We’ve talked about “manuscript” literally meaning handwriting. We’ve talked about “biography” meaning life writing and “biologist” meaning a person who studies life.

We learned that a “pictograph” is a more grown-up word for a picture graph and that third graders are certainly old enough to know the real words.

I enjoy giving my students opportunities to stretch their vocabulary!

Word of the Day

Set 2 # 10

Find more at my TpT store.

Have a great weekend!


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Formative Assessment

Posted by on Aug 30, 2012 in Uncategorized | 4 comments

Formative assessment is an important informal gauge of how well your students are understanding a concept. They can certainly be used before, during, and after instruction. These assessments will help you determine what you need to reteach and which students need further instruction.

One simple method is to have a card where students can update you on how they are doing. It can simply show green for good to go or red for stuck or stopped.

A method I use is “4 Corners.” I have signs in the corners of my room. 1 indicates no understanding of the word, 2 means you have heard it and read it, but aren’t very sure about it, 3 means you are making some connections, you have a general idea of the word, and 4 means you know the word and you can tell the class what it means. I have students rate new vocabulary to determine which words need further development. It is a quick chance to be up and moving. I use it again after instruction to have students show the growth they feel in the development of their new vocabulary.

Here are some cards you could use for this method:

Formative numbers

I colored these numbers from red (stopped) to green (ready to go).

Check out this great formative assessment by 3rdGrThoughts. I love how the words novice, apprentice, practitioner, and expert are presented. Students can develop new vocabulary at the same time as they rate their understanding.

Word of the Day card:

Set 2 # 9

You can find more at my TpT store.

Say a prayer for my student teacher. She received word today of cervical cancer. Thanks.


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Word of the Day

Posted by on Aug 29, 2012 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Set 2 # 8

I’ll be posting about formative assessment tomorrow.


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Student Teachers

Posted by on Aug 28, 2012 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

What a true blessing!

A very successful first day and the promise of help for the successful beginning of a fabulous year, my 35th as a teacher and my 30th in third grade.

Too tired (exhausted, weary, worn-out, spent, sleepy, pooped, done in) to work on vocabulary development, so I’ll leave you with the Word of the Day.

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Is a House a Home?

Posted by on Aug 27, 2012 in Uncategorized | 2 comments

A fun activity for building vocabulary uses the connotations that words bring. Students can have a discussion about which word for small seems the “smallest.” This is a great discussion that lets children sense the variation found in the meanings of synonyms.

small, tiny, little, miniature, petite, scant, wee, undersized, microscopic

The kids could make a continuum of smallness and develop some new vocabulary at the same time.

Conversely, they could try big words!

big, large, enormous, gigantic, huge, immense, great, mammoth, giant

Another idea is to create an imaginary line in the room. Students can stand on a spot on the line that shows how “good/bad” a word is.

For example, with one wall being “full” and the other wall being “empty,” where would you stand for “hungry,” “starving,” “famished,” “ravenous,” “hungry as a wolf?”

Or, put these “house” words in the order of how nice they would be to live in: “home,” “house,” “dwelling,” “hut,” “cabin,” “resort,” “cottage,” “mansion,” “castle,” “lodge,” “bungalow.”

And, put these words in order according to how “mad” they sound: “angry,” “furious,” “irate,” “cross,” “huffy,” “annoyed,” “raving,” “burned up.”

Put these words in order according to how “happy” they are: “happy,” “joyous,” “delighted,” “jolly,” “glad,” “pleased,” “overjoyed,” “radiant,” “cheery,” “good-humored.”

There are many more word connotations that are easily accessible with a thesaurus to help kids in grades 2–6 develop deeper understanding of word meanings. This activity has the additional benefit of helping kids choose words in writing more thoughtfully.


Word of the Day Set 2 # 6

Set 2 # 6

Find more Vocabulary Development Word of the Day cards at my TpT store.

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