Monday, September 17, 2018

Five resources for teaching vocabulary

If you've been following this blog for a while, you know that I'm passionate about TEACHING vocabulary and not just assigning it. 

I have to admit that I, too, have just assigned words in the past. My biggest "aha" moment was when I was a young teacher and I had a student in my class who was from Russia. I gave the students a homework assignment to copy the vocabulary words from the chapter and copy the definitions from the back of the book. When the student turned in his work, he had used the Spanish glossary at the back of the book. At that moment, the light bulb went off and I realized just how ineffective my assignment was.

The problem wasn't that I didn't WANT to teach vocabulary, it's just that I really didn't know how to teach it. Over the years I have read and learned as much as I can about teaching vocabulary, and I share what I have learned with the teachers at our school and with the readers of my blog. 

Before I share my new resource with you, I want to recap four resources I've written about previously. 

If you click the image above, you can read about a specific technique that teachers can use with any grade level to teach vocabulary. If you're a parent, I challenge you to try it this summer with your own children. You can also go ahead and download or print the PDF that's linked in the post and tuck it away with your plans for the next school year. 


A resource that you can use with staff members can be found in the post, How to help struggling readers. It helps to create the WHY around teaching vocabulary. While it's technically not a teaching strategy, it is powerful and reminds us of the role of vocabulary in reading comprehension.


Looking for an awesome book on how to help teenagers to read? This one is packed with practical strategies that can be implemented in a classroom. After you read what I highlighted from the book, I would love to hear your thoughts on them. 

Here's one of my favorite quotes from the book:

"For vocabulary instruction to be effective, students need to have numerous opportunities to use words and to receive feedback about how well they are doing their word usage.”

That strategy was definitely NOT on my radar when I assigned the vocabulary list to my students long ago! I just keep thinking of what Maya Angelou says... when we know better, we have to do better. 


Kids love video. They watch it, they record themselves, they share their videos. 

I've found that in class, they are very hesitant at first to do an academic recording. Has this been your experience, too?

Recap is a great resource to use for short videos (See what one of our math teachers did with Recap), and Flipgrid is another terrific and easy-to-use resource for learning about vocabulary. 


A new resource that I learned about this week is a person. Her name is Vocab Gal. (Don't you just love it?!)

The image above is linked to her blog (Sponsored by Sadlier). There you will find some VERY creative ways to teach vocabulary! For you Pinterest fans, you can also follow her board on Pinterest. And finally, if you like to keep up on Facebook, you can follow her page on Facebook

Do you or someone you know have a strategy for teaching vocabulary that works? I would love to hear it! Please shoot me an email (click the icon on the top right of the page) or connect on twitter. I would love to hear from you!

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