Figuring out unknown words is such a difficult thing for the students (and some adults) to do. Often times, we just tell the kids to "look it up in the dictionary". BUT....
I mean, really, when you are sitting on the beach with a drink in one hand and your book in another, are you going to stop and open up a dictionary to figure out that really long word in the middle of your amazingly fantastic read??? I thought not. Our students aren't either.
So much of my vocabulary instruction focuses on three main strategies that the students can use (and you probably use on the beach) to figure out those tough words -- context clues, word structure, and apposition.
I started today's lesson creating a Circle Map of the different ways that we could figure out unknown words. The kids gave me all the standards -- dictionary, glossary, ask a friend, the internet -- so I chimed in with the three vocab strategies.
Next, I taught them the hand motions that I created to go along with these three strategies. Yes....I LOVE HAND MOTIONS. There I said it. I made this little video for you of me doing the strategies. (I am at home, so no kiddos voices in this one...however you will see my own kids....I couldn't keep them out and this is literally the best one I got! Sorry about that! ;) )
After we were done with learning the strategies, we went into our reading selection for the week and looked to see if we could use each one at least once. This is the first time we are going through it, so it was really laid back today. But as the year gets on, my hope is that they will become more independent with them.
What are some of your tricks to get the kids to figure out words they are unfamiliar with?
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