One forgets words as one forgets names. One’s vocabulary needs constant fertilizing or it will die.-Evelyn Waugh
In working with young children all day, I find that my vocabulary sometimes is lacking when having adult conversation. I’ve caught myself saying “Put on your listening ears” in regular conversation. My “cool factor” is definitely a big zero at times. Interacting with 5 year olds most of every day definitely requires me to work at maintaining my end in an adult conversation. I work crossword puzzles, play the ubiquitous Words With Friends, and I read. If don’t work on it, then “criss-cross applesauce” is likely to spring forth the next time I sit with a friend for some coffee.
Our students are no different. Vocabulary development is an on-going skill that needs practice. Young children are building vocabularies each day. Misconceptions are prevalent. As a child, I thought a “chest of drawers” was “chester drawers”. One former student called her “backpack” a “pack-pack”. Listening to my students stretch and grow in their vocabulary development is interesting to say the least. One child said he loved “arts and craps”. Yes, friends, it is something we work on every day.
A recent activity with the book Snowmen at Night was particularly good for vocabulary work for my students. First, we live in an area that has almost no snow in the winter. Sledding, snowball fights, ice skating are all things my students read about, but don’t usually get to participate in. After discussing the story, we thought of things a snowman could do at night. We used the app ChatterPix to let our snowmen tell about themselves. Here is a short one.
We also used the story during our Writing Workshop time to write about what a snowman might do at night. Here is one sample:
Vocabulary knowledge aids in activating and building background knowledge to make connections to text, and having vocabulary knowledge can increase reading comprehension and fluency while reading. Using word walls, mentor texts, non-fiction texts across all subjects, and especially creation apps on the iPad give students many opportunities to interact with new vocabulary.
We have used Pic Collage, Explain Everything and Drawing Pad in other vocabulary activities. Consider using creation apps on the iPad to help develop student vocabulary.
Today we will do exciting new things. Let’s get to it!