Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sight Word Organization & Word Collectors

sight word dictionaries and collecting vivid verbs, amazing adjectives, character traits, and figurative language

My post today is kind of a 2 parter- 2 different thoughts/situations I wanted to fix, but with the overall idea of words and how wonderful they can be! 

First situation:  I have had a problem the past couple of years managing my sight words with my students.  I used to write their sight words on index cards as I introduced them and stored the sets in baggies.  But that didn't work as efficiently as I would like.  It seemed to take their little hands too long to dig them all out.  Then as the year went along, the stacks got bigger and took more time to go through all the words.  But there was no efficient way of sorting through them to have them read the ones I wanted them to get extra practice on.  

And soooo.... I decided to make a word collector for the students to collect their sight words in.  In a way, it is like a personal dictionary.  But I don't use the dictionary for spelling.  We are using it for READING.  

sight word dictionary

First students make a personal connection to the letters and draw or glue a picture in the box.  The more personal the book is the more meaningful and useful it becomes.  Then as sight words are introduced (which common core states students need to be able to recognize and read), students add them to the word collector.  

sight word dictionary

During reading time, you can have students read all the words they have entered under the letter "b" or the letter "w".  That way you are controlling what words they review according to their needs and it is not time consuming.  Instead it becomes differentiated and efficient!  That's what I like of course and I am sure you do too!

prefixes and suffixes

At the end of the word collector is a place for students to add prefixes and suffixes.  Learning to read words with prefixes and suffixes and using the meanings of these word parts is also a part of common core and a big part of becoming a better reader.

Second Part:  Now past the sight word and word parts problems, I have this desire to teach students to be aware of language and how authors and writers use words in their craft.  I want them to be a true collector of words and poetic language!

Again, I was looking for efficiency and a good way to manage this.  There just seems sometimes so much that I want to get accomplished, but so little time!  As common core raises the bar, I feel this need to teach students about the use of words and language even more.  

vivid verbs

As students are reading and being read to they can be mindful of the words authors use and collect those words into their word collectors.  Here on this page they can collect verbs that are strong and specific.

amazing adjectives

As students learn to use adjectives and how they can make writing more descriptive and paint pictures in our minds, they can add the ones they particularly like to this page.  I also have a character traits page for collection of words that describe the characters they are reading about.

collecting figurative language

And for one of my favorites that I am really excited about- collecting wonderful, wonderous words!  I want to be able to talk more about how authors use language and the way they string words together.  I want students to notice these wonderful phrases and figurative language.  I believe if we have more conversations with students about the use of language and begin to notice (and collect) it more, students will transfer this and be more mindful of the word choices they make in their own writing!

Thank you for sticking with me on this long post!  I truly believe in collecting words, having conversations with students about language, and applying it to their writing.  Their minds are wonderful and once they are shown how this works, they can take off and be as creative as they can possibly be!!  If this looks like something that will help you help your students to love and collect wonderful language, click here to be taken to my store.


Kathy Olenczuk said...

Lori-I love the organization of your word collector. I think my students will really have fun with this idea. They love finding new words and would love having their very own notebook. Thanks for sharing this!

Lori said...

Thank you so much, Kathy! I love hearing that your students have a love for finding new words. It's wonderful to see kids noticing the use of rich language!
Conversations in Literacy

MichEd said...

This is great. Today I was just thinking that I needed a way for my students to "manage" their sight words. What would you suggest for starting it this late in the year--have the students go back and fill in all of the words we've previously learned or just start fresh from this point forward? I teach kindergarten and I think writing all of the words from the beginning of the year might be a daunting task for them.

Lori said...

MichEd, I actually created this just this weekend because I was not happy with how we were managing the sight words. So I am in the same situation as you are. You could write the ones you have introduced already on one copy then make copies for the entire class. Then they can add as they go from this point forward. Or you can have them add an extra word or two every couple of days or once a week when they add new words until they are all caught up. I started today and we added 2 words instead of one (I teach struggling readers, so we don't introduce but 1 or 2 words at a time). If you decide to have them write them in instead of you doing it, just take it slow and eventually you will get caught up. Good luck and thanks for the great question!
Conversations in Literacy

Lee Ann Rasey said...

Great idea! Do you do this with kindergarten also? I would like to do something like this so they get practice with fine motor, but I have limited time. I also thought about a word ring to travel from school to home and back, but still trying to figure that out.

Lori said...

Thank you Lee Ann! Yes, I use this with kindergarten too. It does not take them but a few seconds to get their word written into the word collector. Then we can go back and just read the "b" words or "w" words instead of the entire stack- which we wouldn't have time for once they have learned a lot of words. That is the part that I really like- huge time manager for me!
Conversations in Literacy

esjmommy said...

Am I able to print these?

Lori said...

esjmommy, if you click on the first picture at the top of the post or the click here at the bottom of the post, it will take you to my store. Or this is my link:

Thank you!

Lisa said...

Excellent post!

Do you know the chapter book Donavan's Word Jar? I'm sure you do! After reading it near the beginning of the year, we collect words, too! Kids love the book and LOVE collecting words! It really helps them understand how important an author's word choices are and how their word choices make us feel about the story. Once kids make that connection, their own writing is so much more exciting, isn't it?

For the record, your pages are a lot cuter than the ones I use in my centers!


Lori said...

Thank you so much, Lisa! I do the know the book Donovan's Jar. I agree, it is so exciting when students start noticing rich language and being more intentional about their word choices! I love that! Thanks for the compliment about my pages!

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