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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Degrees of Words

It is getting to be that time of year.  The time when I have read enough read alouds to start harvesting vocabulary words for my degrees of words word wall project.

Basically, I go through all the books and look for words that mean scared.  I put sticky notes on the page where the word is (first graders would have a difficult time reading 2nd and 3rd grade books that I have read to them in order to find a particular word, but scaffolding them like this makes this doable).  The students turn to the page where the sticky note is, write down the sentence it is in, or paraphrase what is going on by using the word.  They draw a picture in the picture space, and turn it in.  We go through the words as a class and decide which words are stronger than scared(and go higher up on the thermometer), and which words are less than scared (worried, concerned, etc.).  We discuss how synonyms don't mean the same thing, but that word choice is important to accurately describe the situation.  Most of the time authors use the vocabulary words correctly, but one time, we felt that the author could have chosen a better word given the severity of the situation.  So we wrote a letter to the author as a class giving him a suggestion using a more appropriate word.  So fun.  The kids really get into vocabulary at this point, and their writing blooms.

When I get  a chance, I will post my list of books I read that contain the words for scared, but it is pretty easy to find books for this, because that is a very common feeling in characters.

Happy February!

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