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Underachievers...Unmotivated... AGAIN
Old 02-28-2009, 09:31 PM
 
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There was a post a few days ago about underachievers. Well, I teach a class of 22 fourth graders, 11 are identified as gifted. We have done our vocabulary the same way ALL year, and they haven't had any problems with it until the past couple of weeks. We take a quiz on Fridays. The students use the vocab words in a sentence with a context clue. The past two tests, several of the students have bombed it. They'll write on their tests, "I didn't study very much." What do I do? I know there are a gazillion ways to do vocabulary. I don't think it's the vocab...I think they're ultimately being lazy. How do I correct this? Do I blame myself? Do I blame them??? Should I change my vocabulary routine all together. I'm soooo disappointed in them. Absolutely nothing has changed in our vocab. routine. UGH! Help PLEASE!


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Old 03-01-2009, 02:05 PM
 
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It's probably time to shake things up. Try changing the activities, let the class come up with new ways to work with the words, have THEM choose the words. They are more likely to get into it if they have an active roll in it. Pretest for prior knowledge on Mondays so they can test out of some of the words. You said that half of the class is gifted. Is the whole class getting the same words? You may want to differenciate the content, process and product. Let the higher group work with orgins and categories. The more you get them involved and keep things exciting, the more they are likely to buy into it.
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Old 03-02-2009, 01:59 AM
 
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Yes, I agree-if you haven't changed it all year, maybe that is the problem?
A change is as good as a rest and all that.

I also have my children select their own. They have an "EVE" book (English Vocabulary Extension) and as they are reading their own novels/literature I have them add words that they don't know.

Then once a week we do the attached activity, with them taking the words from their own lists.

About once a month I will get them to make a crossword using their words, or write a short paragraph where the challenge is to use all of their new words in context in as short a paragraph as possible.
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EVE template
Old 03-02-2009, 08:12 AM
 
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I like this! I think I may try to incorporate this in my classes this year (even this late in the year). I never seem to be able to do any reading or vocabulary with my students when I only see them once per week. This would be something they could do easily.

thanks!
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Old 03-03-2009, 06:46 PM
 
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Thank you so much for all the suggestions. I realize that I am learning as much as the next new teacher. I need the constructive criticism and the insights. I thoroughly take to heart everything you suggest. I'm going to shake up the vocabulary starting next week (we have some state testing this week). I just hope that it wakes them up and reignites their passion. Yes, the students pick their own words, but I have the same expectations (synonyms, sentences with context clues, part of speech (we do state writing), etc.)


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Y-E-S Change Your Routine
Old 03-06-2009, 12:18 PM
 
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When I used to teach in the regular classroom, I used a large pocket chart for my vocab. The children would take turns matching their vocab words to the definitions that were placed on the pocket chart. I would send 2 at a time to work on this chart. Also, the charts can be used for using the vocab in sentences. I think they are getting Spring Fever and need some new ways to study.
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Disillusioned with underachievers
Old 03-08-2009, 04:34 PM
 
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Having taught 32 years (25 of them with gifted), I don't claim to have all the answers. But experience has taught me that you will have days (or weeks) like that. Shaking things up and changing the routine will work wonders. The gifted do get bored sometimes--just don't say that anywhere near them or they will try to use it as a crutch. If you truly suspect that they are being lazy (and they will do that), fuss at them. Tell them you know they can do better; you are disappointed and you expect more. Then shake things up and change the routine. Have them make word webs showing synonyms, antonyms, situations that you would use the word, etc. Let them make up practice test questions. And remember, Spring Break is just around the corner.
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Break out of the routine!
Old 04-15-2009, 10:47 AM
 
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Yes! I agree with several of you who have said gifted kids get bored easy. I teach 17 self contained gifted 3rd graders, and it's always a challenge to keep them interested. So I offer LOTS of options for how to do things. For example, I have a list of 23 options for completing spelling homework each night. They can't do the same assignment two nights in a row, but can choose to do their homework the same way each Monday, should they desire. They get the list at the beginning of the year, and then the burden of keeping it interesting is removed from my shoulders! They come to me and say they're bored with spelling, my response is "Then do it a different way. Pick a new one from the list." It's really stopped most of the complaints in my classroom. One of my summer projects is to modify this list for language arts also. When I do, I'll be sure to post it! :-)

Also, one fun way I've found to do vocabulary is through picture dictionaries. I assign each student a vocabulary word, which they write in the center of their blank paper. Then they must find any synonyms and antonyms of the word. Synonyms go in the upper left hand corner, and antonyms in the upper right. Across the bottom they write an original, gifted sentence. I don't accept 'cookie-cutter' sentences. The remainder of the page is filled with an illustration of the definition of their word. I will try to attach a picture or a scan in another post from home- can't do it at work. The kids LOVE to do this, as it lets them stretch their creative, artistic sides, as well as proves that they know their stuff! I use it for our vocabulary words, which change every week. We do the dictionaries on Monday, and I hang them on a bulletin board in my room all week, so they have them for reference.

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