Vocabulary Overload

Posted by on Jul 12, 2012 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

“The limits of my language are the limits of my mind. All I know is what I have words for.” —Ludwig Wittgenstein


I have used this activity very successfully in my classroom. I use it to introduce topics, then again as a great follow up after instruction.


badge, widget, ribbon, domain, URL, scriptaculous, plugins…

Wow! Have I been expanding my computer-literacy vocabulary this summer! (Not that I know all these words yet!) I have learned so much and it has been hard work. So many things I didn’t have the words for, so many I still don’t! It shows me how difficult reading must be for struggling readers. And I have an edge… I’m really interested and motivated. Yet, I still give up 4 or 5 times a day and come back to it later. But that’s the key: I come back to it, on my own, because I want to. Struggling readers won’t go back on their own because they don’t want to—it’s too hard.

My whole experience is showing me that my concept of being “devoted to vocabulary development” is of huge importance to kids and, thus, to teachers.

I hope I can fill this blog with great ideas to help teachers build vocabularies for their struggling and not even struggling readers.

And so, I’ll begin today by providing an idea for making connections. Students need to connect new learning to their schemata, their background knowledge. If I can figure out how to add it, I am posting an organizer to use when introducing a new topic. While students are listing words they know about a topic, it is good to casually mention a few of the vocabulary words. Notice who picks up on them and what ideas the words bring to their minds. If you use a new word again after instruction, notice which students have added the new vocabulary and how they use it. Discuss the terms with them to try to help add depth to their new understandings.

Well, now back to trying to set up badges, widgets, tags, and buttons on this board. Unfortunately, I still have no idea what I am doing!


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