Encouraging New Vocabulary Use

I have to credit my intern with this idea:

Our reading curriculum is adding huge numbers of words that our students are introduced to on a daily basis.  We have spelling lists, vocabulary lists and amazing word lists.  While we do our best to convey the importance of learning these new words, sixth graders do tend to ignore us.

My intern thought a friendly competition between the classes might help.  We brainstormed some ideas and settled on having the classes keep track of each time they purposely use one of our words.  When a student uses one of our words, they can take a dry erase marker and add a tally to their class’s total on our window.  We thought using the window would be motivating, since it’s something different.

The window itself says “Team Titanic’s Wonderful Word Wall” and has a spot for the Bows and one for the Sterns (we name our homerooms according to our theme, which, this year, is the Titanic Team).

The kids have really taken to the idea and go out of their way to try to use a word from one of our lists.  It has to be used correctly and show that they understand what the word means.  It also needs to be part of the discussion, not just some off the wall tangent.

Students can also find the word written in a book, on a sign, etc and get a point for their class.

While it’s not going to solve all the world’s problems, it certainly has made my students more aware of words and their meanings, which is all I can ask of a sixth grader some days!

I tried to get a picture, but because it’s a window, you mostly just see right through it!  I don’t have the photography skills to get a good view of it.  😦

Oh well, you get the idea!

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