Posts made in September, 2012

Autumn Word of the Day

Posted by on Sep 25, 2012 in Uncategorized | 1 comment

“Autumn, the year’s last, loveliest smile.” —William Cullen Bryant

I will be posting Autumn Word of the Day cards from a set I am working on for my TPT store.

You all get to see them first! Please let me know if you like them!



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Saturday Extra: Example and Non-example Edition

Posted by on Sep 22, 2012 in conversation as learning tool, example non-example, math vocabulary, vocabulary, vocabulary development | 2 comments

“Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.” —Mark Twain

Sorry, I found more appropriate example quotes, but I love Mark Twain.

Example and Non-example is a great way to build concepts that provide students a deeper understanding of the vocabulary terms they are learning.

The activity itself is fairly simple. You need several examples of things that have all of the characteristics of a concept. It is important that you determine the characteristics that the object must have to perfectly represent the concept. This week we are going to use the word “polygons.” So, by definition, polygons have straight sides, are 2-dimensional, and are closed figures. Examples will be easy to come by: triangles, squares, trapezoids, star, etc…

Then you need several good non-examples. The non-examples should have at least one of the characteristics of the example. They should not be something completely off target, like “fire.” For things that are not polygons, we would present a figure without straight sides such as a circle or oval, a 3-dimensional object such as a cube, and a figure with all straights sides that isn’t closed.

To begin, one object is presented and placed on one side of the display area (example). A second object is presented and placed on the same side. Students are then asked to determine what is alike about these objects. A third object is presented and placed on the other side (non-example) of the display. Students are given the opportunity to discuss why it doesn’t belong with the others. Continue in this way with several more objects until the students feel certain they know how the objects are being sorted. Ask for their explanations. Allow students to determine the place for the remaining objects and/or allow students to suggest additional objects for the example side.

At the end of this particular activity, we will create a definition of polygons based on the ideas the students have brought forth themselves. Finding their own understanding is an important element in retaining the lesson.

This activity can be done with very simple concepts. You could do lowercase letters, not lowercase letters (use some capital letters and a number for non-examples) or short-a words, not short-a words (use some long-a words or other short-vowel words for the non-examples). It can also be used with very complex concepts.

Older students could be given a chart of examples and non-examples and be asked to determine how they were sorted, on their own or with a partner. Conversation is a very important learning tool! Students can even be given a list of objects to sort themselves and be asked to write their rationale for sorting them into two categories.

Check out this article with a great description of this strategy.

Find more vocabulary development ideas at my TPT store.


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Homophone Hink Hinks

Posted by on Sep 19, 2012 in Uncategorized, vocabulary, vocabulary development, word study | 0 comments

“He: ‘Whale you be my valentine?’ She: ‘Dolphinitely.'” ―Adam Young

Homophones need to be practiced! I don’t think they’ll ever be perfected. I find myself slipping from time to time (or is that thyme to thyme?). Students need to put effort into this maze of confusing words. Here is a spot where a little daily practice would be a very good thing. Just a quick pair of sentences with the missing words being a homophone pair would provide an opportunity to reinforce this skill.

There are many fun drill games available all over the internet, many center activities available, many worksheets. Help your students grow in this area. Help them make sense of what they read and help us make sense of what they write!

Here’s a fun activity. It is a twist on hink-pinks. Hink-pinks are two rhyming words that answer a riddle. For example: What do you call a beautiful Christmas tree? A fine pine.

My hink-hinks use a homophone pair to answer the question. Enjoy!

The PDF file contains the answer key: Homophone Hink Hinks

Here’s a Homophone header for your Word Study notebook:

Visit my TpT store for more great ideas.

See you tomorrow!


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Antonyms Want Equal Time!

Posted by on Sep 18, 2012 in antonyms, vocabulary, vocabulary development, word study | 0 comments

“The antonyms for dreams are actuality, certainty, existence, fact, reality, substance, and truth.”—James Dye

But, boy, the power of dreams should not be discounted!

Synonyms of many words can easily be listed and compared, their connotations noted and discussed, and a decision made as to which one would be best to use. The same is true of antonyms in writing. I think a great exercise would be to make lists of synonyms for two antonyms. Students could consider the lists and try to create pairs with the most similar meaning. Here is a list of possible pairs:

Again conversation and discussion is an important element in the effectiveness of this lesson. Students need the opportunity to express their thinking and feelings in words.

Here is an Antonym heading for a Word Study notebook:

I had an amazing day. I hope yours was great as well!


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Is a House a Home? Synonyms and Critical Thinking

Posted by on Sep 17, 2012 in vocabulary development | 0 comments

“I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself.” —Maya Angelou

I have written about synonyms before. I feel that they are one of the very best vocabulary development tools. Have you ever noticed that kids love synonyms for “big”? Just ask them, they can make quite a list. Wouldn’t it be great if we could help them acquire such a list for many other words? A list they could consider critically when choosing the best word for writing or just for intelligent conversation?

Students need more information than just the words. They need to begin developing an understanding of the connotation of words. Would I rather be called “petite” or “puny”? Of course, I don’t really have anything against small, but I really don’t want to be seen as a runt.

An activity I love to use is a value line. Kids take a list of words: happy, glad, gleeful, joyful, joyous, delighted, pleased, overjoyed. They then place them on a value line by deciding which ones seem least positive to most positive. They need to talk about their choices. Which words were easy to place? Which ones are hardest? Are there some that seem to fit right in the middle? Which are words you tend to use? Which are words you have never used? They could place them by themselves and then talk, or they could place them in collaboration with a partner or team. I know I’ve said it before, but conversation about words is so important!

Here is an example of a value line activity that I have made for my classroom:

If you’d like to have more, I have created this set for my TPT store:

It is currently on sale at a special introductory price.

Here is a header I created for the Synonym page of a Word Study notebook:

Have a great week, everyone!


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