Saturday, January 26, 2013

Martin Luther King, Vocabulary, & Penguins

I know that's a mishmash title, but bear with me. This week we talked all about Martin Luther King Jr. There are a few really good videos on youtube if your district doesn't block it. We watched his "I have a dream speech", as well as a reading of the book "Martin's Big Words." 

Here's one of the activities we did from my MLK Mini - Unit. 

I also started thinking a lot about Vocabulary this week. When it comes to MLK there is a lot of new and challenging Vocabulary. There are also some challenging Common Core Standards regarding it. 
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.K.4a Identify new meanings for familiar words and apply them accurately (e.g., knowing duck is a bird and learning the verb to duck).
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.K.4b Use the most frequently occurring inflections and affixes (e.g., -ed, -s, re-, un-, pre-, -ful, -less) as a clue to the meaning of an unknown word.
So I started looking for ways I could make vocabulary more fun and manageable. This first idea is from Caitlyn at Kindergarten Smiles. It's a Word Splash where the kids splash up new vocabulary that will be discussed that week. 

We spend a lot of time discussing the words that were up there. I wanted to make sure though, that those words meant something to the kids. That they could explain them in a way that made sense, and not just parrot my definition that meant nothing to them. So I came up with this:

I asked the kids to explain each word to me and we wrote it down. Then I asked them what that might look like, and they gave examples that we drew. I felt that this made things a little more concrete and relatable to them. (I made a point to underline the words equal, free, and just within the words, so the children could connect the bigger words to the smaller ones and see how they relate) this activity is also in my MLK mini-unit.

Next week, we are starting Penguins and there is all kinds of fun vocabulary that go with that. I'm planning on starting with the word splash again, and perhaps having them act out some of the words (like waddle, rookery, regurgitate, etc.) Then, I saw Deanna Jump updated her unit to include a great vocabulary book where they write the definition and draw it, so I'll be re-downloading that as well. 

picture from Deanna's Blog :)

We'll be doing some of the fun activities from my Penguin Centers Pack at our word work Center, and my kids can't wait to get their new February readers in their book boxes during Daily 5. 

The pocket charts for February and March should be up this weekend as well. February has seriously snuck up on me... I can't believe our 100th Day is next week!!! And Groundhogs Day!! And a Field Trip!!

Do you have any inspiring ideas for Vocabulary? I'd love to hear them!

1 comment:

  1. I love your vocabulary ideas. I just attended a pd where we discussed rigor in the classroom and one of the sessions was on vocabulary. I introduce the 6 words that go with our read aloud in our literacy curriculum on Mondays. I use word cards with pictures on them. We talk about what the words mean and sometimes we create a movement to go with it. Each day after that we review the words, what they mean, and show the movement. We pick one of the words to add to our word wall. The following week I put a page with all of the words and pictures on them in a vocabulary station. The kiddos pick a word, write it, and then draw what the word means to them. I have them later tell me the things they did orally to really check for understanding. If you would like the recording page I use, just send me an e-mail at

    I think next week we might start something new and play a game with the words. I will put each word on a sheet of paper and when the kids use it in a sentence, I will place a tally under it. The word with the most tally marks will be our word winner!