Many secondary school teachers may be dismissive about using manipulatives in the classroom. They may think of word cards and word puzzles as belonging in the elementary school realm, along with crayons and counting cubes. However, when it comes to vocabulary learning, it can sometimes be a more engaging way to teach words as individual manipulative units rather than lists of tiny words printed out on 8 ½ x 11 sheets of paper. After all, why do so many adults have fridge doors covered in magnetic poetry?
When developing writers are striving to be more "descriptive" and vivid in their creative writing, they often turn to adverbs as one of their enhancement tools (understandably — since they are words that are intended to modify or qualify verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs.) However, when students begin to learn some of the more sophisticated standards for writing, teachers often advise them to avoid adverbs and to instead reach for powerful verbs that "show" instead of "tell" about their subjects and their actions.
If you are in the ed world, chances are you have heard the acronym RTI being batted around but you may not be able to explain its rationale or be able to envision how this model of "intervention" could play out in your classroom.
How can you say you know a word if you have never spoken it aloud? How can you "own" a word if you have never used it? These are some of the questions that Heidi Hayes Jacobs prompts us to consider in her widely acclaimed book for educators Active Literacy Across the Curriculum
Words are like chameleons. Just like a chameleon changes color to adapt to its environment, a word sometimes has to change forms to adapt to its context in a sentence. This might seem like a silly analogy, but if you have ever tried to teach students new words and how to use
those words in original sentences, this silly analogy might benefit you (and your students).
For Black History Month, take a look at some of the speeches
that have inspired progress towards racial equality in America. Beyond looking at the historical context of each speech, students can use VocabGrabber
to analyze the linguistic patterns in a particular speech to gain insight into what rhetorical devices made those spoken words so memorable.
Can you imagine trying to explain the word currency
without using the words money
? Or, how about trying to explain epic
without referring to the words hero, narrative
? This activity, borrowed from Hasbro's Taboo
game, is a great way to have students review a list of vocabulary words from class in a fun, engaging format.