Monday, May 19, 2014

May Speachy Feedback Linky Party

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I LOVE rewarding you for the awesome feedback you leave in my store. This month is no different. In fact, this month I get to pick two winners-yay! I'm linking up with Allison's Speech Peeps to bring you this month's feedback linky.

Usernames Teach Speech 365 and Felecia B., email me at with a product of your choice from my store. You can find my "Let's Make Analogies!" and "Vocabulary Graphic Organizer" in my Teachers pay Teachers store. Thank you all for leaving feedback in my store, I love reading your comments and seeing how you use my products. Keep it up!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Teaching Vocabulary

Disclaimer: Amazon links are included for your convenience

Oh the dreaded "V" word- Vocabulary! I don't know about you, but whenever I see a vocabulary goal, I shiver a little inside. Why? Because they are usually super vague. For example: [Student] will learn grade level vocabulary words with 80% accuracy over 3 sessions, or, [Student] will give definitions for academic vocabulary with 80% accuracy over 3 sessions. First of all, how are these goals even measurable?! And my next question, and the question I'm sure you're all asking as well, what vocabulary words do I target?? 

I recently attended a wonderful conference on teaching vocabulary. Unfortunately, the presenter wasn't able to give us a magic list of words to teach. She did, however, point us in a few different directions. One set of words to consider teaching are called "Bell's 12 Powerful Words". These are words that commonly trip up students when they are taking tests and include trace, infer, formulate, support, summarize, contrast, analyze, evaluate, describe, explain, compare, and predict. 

The presenter also recommended teaching academic vocabulary, or the vocabulary your students are using in their classes. You can use the vocabulary that the teachers are using in their classes if you are able to get the words ahead of time. Or you can come up with your own vocabulary from their subjects. There are a few additional resources that provide examples of academic vocabulary- Vocabulary for the Common Core by Marzano and Simms, Building Academic Vocabulary by Marzano and Pickering, and The Reading Teacher's Book of Lists by Fry and Kress

For our life skills kids or kids with limited vocabulary, we could work on functional vocabulary. These are words that come from the student's environment. Go around the school and find important words, such as caution, flammable, and exit. Bring in words that you find from labels, maps, ads, and recipes. Involve the student and their families when you select the words to make things as functional as possible.

The last type of words the presenter recommended to target were essential vocabulary words. These are words that appear frequently in reading materials, on tests, and during conversations, but aren't learned easily without instruction. These are also considered Tier 2 words. [Side note: Tier 2 words are high frequency words that are useful across a variety of domains. Some questions to ask to help identify Tier 2 words include: Is it useful? Is it an important word for people to know? Does it have instructional potential- can it be worked with and taught a number of ways? Will it help students more precisely discuss and explain general concepts?] Some resources that target essential vocabulary words are Vocabulary Cartoons, AbraVocabra, and 504 Absolutely Essential Words

Like I said before, there is no magic list to use to target vocabulary for our students. That doesn't mean that we shouldn't target them though! The presenter recommended picking 10-12 words a month to target. So you have your 10-12 words, but how do you teach them? 

There are SO many ways to teach vocabulary to our students. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Use a guessing game- provide clues and have the student try to guess the meaning. 
  • Personalize it- use the word when talking with a student about himself/herself. They will want to know what it means and they now also have a personal connection to the word, which will help them remember it better. 
  • Go on a treasure hunt- in the dictionary! Give them different things to find in the dictionary- like five adjectives that begin with "a" or ten words that use "pre" as a prefix. Ask them which word doesn't belong out of a set of four and why. Have them explain if they would rather be/do/see ____ or ____ and why. There's endless possibilities here. 
  • Start a vocabulary notebook with all the new vocabulary they are learning.
  • Use charts and diagrams- like a Venn Diagram or the Frayer Model
  • Take a picture of students acting out vocabulary words- the more your students are involved, the more likely they will be to remember!
  • Use vocabulary words to make song titles, act out a skit, give a newscast, etc. 
  • Look for vocabulary words in real life materials- magazines, news articles, song lyrics, comic books, etc. 
These are just a few of my favorites. What are your favorite ways to teach vocabulary? Spread the wealth, peeps!

ABC's of my Speech Room {M is for...}

M is for Monkeying around with Vocabulary. I looked and looked and looked to try to find a link for this for you, but it seems that it's out of print! In fact, this copy was left at my school from a previous SLP. So if you run across a copy of either book, be sure to grab it up!

There are two versions to this product, a grades K-2 version and a grades 3-5 version. They both include sections on antonyms, synonyms, classifying, definitions, absurdities, and then the 3-5 grade version also includes a section on analogies.

These are so much fun for my littles. Each section includes multiple ways to practice the skill: matching pictures, cut and paste, coloring pages, circling words, fill in the blanks, writing sentences, and word banks. With so many different activities to use, my students don't even realize they are working!

What's an M from your room that you love?