We’ve always disliked giving students a list of vocabulary words, having them look up the definition, and then immediately use the word in a sentence. Often, their sentences end up with the word not quite in the correct form or even in the right contest. This year, we’re hoping to avoid this issue by starting our language arts classes with a new graphic organizer using the vocabulary we’ve selected from the opening novels we’re reading (Charlotte’s Web in 3rd grade, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler in 4th grade, and The Westing Game in 5th grade, just in case you were wondering!).
So here’s what we do.
- Create a three column table using the list of vocabulary words we want our students to learn.
- In the first column, is the vocabulary word.
- In the second column, is a sentence we create using the word with ample context clues,
- The third column is left blank for students to speculate the meaning of the word.