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Transcript of Word Nerds
By: Brenda J Overturf, Leslie H Montgomery, & Margot Holmes Smith
Five-Part Vocabulary Plan
Talk Like a Pirate
Introducing New Words
Synonyms or Antonyms
Celebrating New Words
Assessing Vocabulary Development
Word Nerds is a guide to vocabulary instruction written by Brenda J Overturf, Leslie H Montgomery, and Margot Holmes Smith. Leslie Montgomery and Margot Holmes Smith are both teachers in a high-poverty urban school in Kentucky. Here, they work together to utilize flexible, creative vocabulary instruction that improves students' word knowledge and confidence, enhances classroom community, and increases achievement. Each of the activities make learning vocabulary fun by including art, music, movement, drama, literature, games, technology, writing, and test-taking skills in each lesson. We have found Word Nerds to be a great reference that explains how to plan, teach, and assess vocabulary in a fun and interesting way.
With the help of literacy specialist, Brenda Overturf, Leslie and Margot have developed a five-part vocabulary plan in order to help students better understand vocabulary.
The first step of effective vocabulary instruction is introducing the vocabulary words in a student-friendly way. This could be done by using various methods, depending on the unique interests of the students in your classroom. One example is a vocabulary journal.
In order for the students to better understand their vocabulary words, synonyms (examples) and antonyms (non-examples) are introduced. This also helps the students build vocabulary due to the connections made between the words.
This includes creative ways to put vocabulary into practice. All of the ideas are creative and help the students to remain engaged while learning. The activities are mostly hands-on with an emphasis on interaction with peers.
These activities focus on allowing the students to celebrate their progress in the new words they have learned. It validates that their work with vocabulary is important and meaningful. A "Vocabulary Party" would take place to celebrate the students' accomplishments.
It is also important to assess our students' vocabulary knowledge. Teachers can do both formative and summative assessments. Whichever they choose, there are four main guidelines to consider:
1. Think about goals and purposes of the assessment
2. Use authentic measures of vocabulary progress
3. Plan to assess for depth of understanding
4. Be aware of comprehension connections
The Frayer Model is used to organize information about vocabulary words:
1. Write vocabulary word in middle oval
2. Write the definition of the word
3. Draw a picture of the word
4. Write down synonyms and antonyms of the word
5. Write a sentence using the word
A student explains the meaning of their word and other students try to make a connection to it. If they do, the student will hook elbows (or strips of paper) and then another student tries to make a connection to one of the words in the chain until all of the words are linked.
With this activity, the students will combine the spelling of the word and the meaning of the word in a drawing. This demonstrates the student's understanding of the word through a visual representation.
The students sit in partners, and each pair gets a "pirate talk" sentence. The students should then turn the pirate sentence into a more sophisticated sentence, using their vocabulary words. Here is an example from the book:
Pirate: "Me cut rock with me tool."
New Sentence: "My chisel blazes through the rock."
- Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down
- Analyzing Student Work
- Student Generated Questions