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essence253 07-09-2015 02:37 PM

Vocabulary Center
My district is emphasizing a push on literacy. With that in mind, we have been mandated to have vocabulary centers that are completely independent. I have never put vocabulary in center, usually doing lessons whole group using a vocab journal. Sight word activities are not to be included as we are to use vocabulary words from our main reading text from the basal or content vocabulary from the science, social studies, or math units. Besides some picture and word matching actives, what else can I do for centers. Oh and actives must be differentiated by tier and students have to have choice with the center. I'm at a lost. Any help is apprecciated.

MalibuBarbie 07-09-2015 08:06 PM

That's a toughy. We're doing close reads and that's where I'm getting a lot of vocab instruction in--probably like you. I'm wondering what could be done with those 3-5 words each week...act them out? Find pictures in magazines that depict them? Illustrate them? Ugh. Doesn't sound all that enticing.

We've been using the book Word Nerds in our school for a building improvement goal. I'm not on that particular team (and honestly haven't read the book!). The team has given vocab instruction ideas at staff meetings but nothing that has jumped out as kinder appropriate and nothing that seemed to fit with a center.

Sorry I can't be of more help! :s)

Dan 07-10-2015 01:59 PM

Make the word their own
I don't have the sheet in front of me so someone else can add to this. They take a sheet of paper (or you prepare one with lines, etc.) and fold it in thirds. In one section, they write the word and illustrate the meaning of the word. Two, they write the word in a sentence and highlight the word. THree, they write a reminding word or phrase. If this is a word from a close reading, they can do this part using a phrase relating to the close reading so it reminds them of the original context.

I model this, so although it is an independent activity, the model is posted up and people who need to use the model can do so.

Sbkangas5 07-10-2015 08:18 PM

I don't have any great ideas, but I think if I was in your shoes I would still do your whole group lesson in their vocabulary journal, and then find an extension (maybe something similar to sight word work). So maybe after they've done it with you, in their journal they rainbow write the word, stamp it with letter stamps, etc. Or they could model the word with playdough (depending on what the word is). Or take pictures of things that remind them of the word with ipads? I don't know. Whoever mandated that for you has obviously never taught kinder!

iteachk2010 07-11-2015 06:03 AM

I can't imagine what it would look like at the beginning of the school year in K when the students are not independent or, in my situation, when most don't even know letters, let alone read words on their own.

I agree with PP that you would have to do it with the whole group first. Introduce the words and their meanings-include photos and have students orally use the words in sentences. Teacher fills in the vocabulary organizer with the word, definition, what it isn't, and a picture on the easel or Smartboard. Then for the center, maybe have the students work on pages in a vocabulary book. Do word work activities like PP said-build the word with letter tiles, letter magnets, foam letters, stamp the word, trace the word and have them draw a picture for the word. Even drawing a picture is tough at the beginning of the year when some of the students are in the scribbling stage or draw "spider" people-heads with arms and legs coming out of the head. When they look at their drawing later, they can't tell what it is or remember what they drew. Maybe you could have some cut and paste where they glue the picture next to the word or use the iPads to take a photo like PP suggested.

In order for students to use vocabulary in their writing, they need to use it first in their oral language. For example, I did a read aloud using The Enormous Watermelon. In whole group, I introduced the word enormous. We used the pictures in the story to help us figure out what it meant. Then I drew a word web and wrote the word enormous in the middle. Students suggested other words that meant almost the same thing like huge, gigantic. I wrote those words on the spokes of the web. When we finished, I challenged them to try to use the word enormous in oral sentences during the week. Later in the year you could add something about using the word in a written sentence. To differentiate the activity, you could have sentences to trace, sentences with missing word for them to fill in or have them write their own sentences.

In the beginning of the year, my students are working on basic concept of print and conventions of print-understanding the difference between letters, words and sentences. They are learning how to form and write the letters. Since most are in the scribble stage or random letter stage, they would not be able to write a sentence I could recognize. They would have to dictate-read what they wrote and I would write underneath their writing. If I got any sentences at all, it would most likely be a pattern sentence we used which wouldn't help show the meaning of the word. "I see a ____." or "I like ____."

There is an app for the iPad called Tell About It. You can try adding your own pictures and have students tell about it using the vocabulary words. (It records what they say.)

Maybe have simple concentration game where they match the words to the pictures. When I have ELL students, we start out just by naming. We will name things in the classroom. It is oral. I have pictures and they find the things in the classroom and orally have to name it. We do a lot of labeling activities. Maybe you could have the students do labeling activities.

Later in the year, you might be able to use the Spelling Vocabulary City website. That is a website I used when I taught first grade. I only used the free version and it also didn't have the vocabulary section back then so I am not sure if K students would be able to use it.

It is so frustrating when they lump kindergarten in with the other grade levels. GRRRRRRRR! I suggest you invite the person in your district who made the decision that you have to have independent vocabulary centers in K to come in to your classroom to show you how it is done and what it looks like at the beginning of the school year. This is another one of those times when I wish all the K teachers could unite and stomp our feet and say "Enough is enough! We will only do what is developmentally-appropriate in our K classrooms." Anyone who has not taught K or preschool needs to walk in our shoes for a week before they make these decisions that require K students to do things they are not ready for.

essence253 07-11-2015 07:13 AM

I have been doing a lot of research and simply can not find anything the meets the requirements set by the district. My team is meeting next week to look at the vocabulary words for each week and come up with some activities. We're hoping to have a list of things that can be used for any words.

iteachk2010- Usually I count myself lucky if 5 of my students come in with some letter knowledge. I spend the first few weeks working on students knowing and answering to their first name instead of a nickname. On benchmarks last year 18 of 22 were in tier 2 and 3.

They are making K more and more academic,and as a result we are producing kids who struggle with social skills because they have time to play ans socialize in K. And I would love for someone to come in and show me how to implement mandates with kinders at the start of the year, but we all know that won't happen.

Thanks everyone for the suggestions, I will be adding them to my oh so short list.

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