Thursday, August 22, 2019

#classroombookaday and Vocabulary

Classroom bookaday, donalyn miller, jilian heise, bookaday, picture book

This year I'm joining in on Classroom Book A Day fun with my 7th and 8th graders. You can read my first week with Classroom Book A Day post to see what books we read the first three days, what books we're reading this week, and how we've been using picture books to discuss theme.

I mentioned in my first week post that I'm a connector and I love weaving ideas together. Reading a picture book every day offers so many opportunities! I shared that I asked students to turn and talk and discuss theme but I also have been doing some vocabulary and word work.

Vocabulary is so important but especially important to me after working with students who are deaf and hard of hearing and students who are English learners because developing vocabulary is sooooooo important for them. With reading a picture book everyday, I saw an opportunity to focus on vocabulary. I'm also a big believer in learning and working with vocabulary in context so it's perfect! 

I definitely want to say that I'm conscious of not turning Classroom Book A Day into a chore. My ultimate goal is to read aloud to my students so I'm being very careful to not turn it into too much work that it takes away from that. Taking that into account, here's how I'm layering in vocabulary work while still keeping it simple. 

When students come in, they pick up a vocabulary sheet, put it in their binders, and bring their binders to the board. I have vocabulary sheets in English and in English and Spanish because I have English learners in my classroom.
Students then do a quick self assessment, deciding how well they know the words based on Marzano's Levels of Understanding. I co-created this with my students. We brainstormed what emojis would match and then I added them into the chart I had already created.
We're working on getting more and more automatic with this so they come in and do this independently. Then I read through the words so they can hear what the words sound like and I ask students to share any words they labeled as a 1. Students help each other out and we discuss the words a bit before we read. 

For my 8th graders, if I feel like the words seem fairly simple, I've come up with other things for them to do. For example, with Imagine, I asked students to circle adjectives and we noticed that many adjectives end in -y but not all of them. We've also noticed some words have multiple meanings and that's been fun too to see what discussions come up.

Overall, layering in this quick vocabulary discussion has been a simple way to get in some word work while also activating their brains before we read. I already have ideas for how to move forward and for ways this might evolve so I'll be sure to share them as I go!

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