Vocabulary is a fundamental component of reading and comprehension. It is, therefore, a barrier for many students, particularly those for whom reading is a struggle. Or those with auditory processing difficulty.
I love words. I think about their origins, sort them, find synonyms and examples. Make up songs about them. Learn how to spell them. Think about their parts of speech and how they are used in sentences. I do these things alone, with my classes and for fun.
All of these are excellent first steps, but I need to improve. Here's why:
Often when we get lost in a new word in class it occurs on the spur of the moment. There are ideas and resources that I lack on the fly. Surely, I could anticipate these moments better. Not always, but often enough to make the moment more teachable.
Typically, our discussion is oral. What about the visual kids? I need to have more visual input for them - pictures, the word printed, examples. When all we do is TALK about the word, some kids are missing out.
Finally, I need a repository for all these wonderful words, maps, webs and examples. Sometimes, I save the Smart File and we can refer to it later, or I can make it a PDF for the students. But other times, we wrote on the board and it got erased. Then what? All of our hard work is gone. Forever.
My 2015 Instructional Goal is simple - improve my vocabulary instruction. To that end, I will:
1. Plan more effectively to anticipate the words we need to learn and prepare for discussion.
2. Provide more visual and tactile experiences for the new words and concepts.
3. Collect our words and work in a convenient place that students can access (Google? Padlet? Still thinking)...
Keep me accountable and I'll keep you posted...