Awhile back I did a post about how I run Daily 3 (modified Daily 5) in my classroom, including how I manage my materials. Since I showed my Word Work choice board, I've received some questions about what exactly my students do for their independent Word Work. Well, fasten your seat belts, it's Word Work time!!
When I first started learning about the Daily 5 a few years ago, I struggled with the word work piece. The examples that The Sisters outline in the book are really better suited to primary students. Also, they are predominantly based on spelling practice. When I became unhappy with those choices, I reverted to having my students do vocabulary context sentences for their word work. Not only were these sentences torture for the students to do, they were also torture for me to grade! BORING. Also, they totally neglected the choice element that is so much a hallmark of the Daily 5. Midway through last year, I decided that there must be something better out there. I scoured the internet and my own brain and came up with several short, meaningful vocabulary practice activities and graphic organizers. Some are my original work and others are adaptations of vocabulary practice activities I came across at one time or another!
First, the set-up:
Materials management is an important part of any smoothly functioning classroom, and is an especially important part of a Daily 5 classroom. The kiddos need to be able to access any materials they may need during a rotation without interrupting my guided groups. I have all of the choices displayed on one of my cabinets:
Below, all handouts and instruction cards are stored in a bin of hanging files:
Here's a closer look inside the file bin:
At the very front is a folder with the Weekly Word List. Even though the words are displayed, I provide copies of the words and their definitions so there is no confusion.
Also mounted on the cabinets are two pocket charts with the weekly words:
The blue pocket chart has the 8 weekly words from our literacy story. The red pocket chart has our science/social studies words as well as a couple of "real-life" words. (The literacy words are the focus for the Word Work activities.)
Next, the activities:
Inside the hanging file bin are neatly labeled folders, one for each activity. Inside each folder are two laminated copies of the instructions for that activity, as well as the handouts to go along with it. Students can go up to the bin and grab the instructions and handout they need to work independently. Here are the activities I use...
For this activity, students attempt to make as many connections as they can between the vocabulary words, with the end goal being to link them all in a chain. For example, if three words were "rigid," "tyrant," and "physical," the students might connect them by saying, "Rigid is connected to tyrant because a tyrant has very rigid rules. Tyrant is connected to physical because a tyrant might order physical pain to be inflicted on someone who broke the rules." This one takes a little creativity!
In this folder, I keep the instructions as well as colored "stationery" (aka lined paper with a pretty boarder I make in Word and copy onto pretty colored paper). Every Thursday, I assign a writing prompt relating to the weekly literacy story and require students to use their vocabulary words in their written response. This is pretty much the same thing, except I let students write about any topic they want. Their only requirement is to use at least 5 of the words in their writing. This is a popular one among my avid writers!
This one is a little bit of a higher-level activity. (These activities lend themselves well to mixed-ability classes, because students pick their own activities. No matter the challenge-level, they all accomplish the goal of practicing the words!) Students analyze the words and come up with 3 categories. They might have to do with part of speech, definition, word structure, etc. They sort the words and then explain the category and why it works in the bottom of each column.
This is by far the most popular activity. Students choose four words to work with. For each word, they write a detailed sentence and illustrate. The sentence and illustration really need to show the meaning of the word. I love seeing the pictures and sentences they come up with!
Own the Word:
Probably the most basic activity, the kids just fill out this graphic organizer about the word. They usually use the dictionary and thesaurus to find the part of speech and synonyms/antonyms. It's not complicated, but it gets them thinking about the words and offers an opportunity to practice using reference materials.
This one is pretty basic too. The kids find the vocabulary word in their literacy text book and write down the sentence that uses the word. They then fill out the graphic organizer looking at the context clues, and write their own sentences using context clues to show the word's meaning.
Assessment & Grading:
cloze, usually a story related to the weekly theme. We grade these as a class immediately. This is a win-win I think. It's less grading for me, and it's a better assessment. The weekly work is the formative, ungraded assessment, and the quick quiz is the summative. It's been working really well!
Word Work Outside the Literacy Block:
I implemented a "Word Watcher" program towards the end of last year, and it was really popular with my students!
Anytime they saw or heard a vocabulary word (past words and content area words count too!), they were able to fill out a Word Watcher slip and put it in the bucket. I would pull a slip or two a week to raffle off a homework pass. This year I may also add some component where, when I hear kids USING a vocab word, they can also enter their name in the raffle.
PHEW! I think that sums it up! Be sure to visit my Teachers Pay Teachers store to download these materials (for free!) and check them out for yourself! If you have any questions email me at juiceboxesandcrayolas AT gmail DOT com. If you have any other ideas for independent vocabulary practice that you use with your kiddos, I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to hear them!!!! Please share them in the comments section! My system is by no means perfect, and I would love new ideas!