Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Word Power

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. 


There is power in words...words used the wrong way...words used the right way. 

Sometimes it is a game with Jay, my oldest to use the biggest word he can.  He can come up with some for sure.  Coop, well he likes plain and simple.  He doesn't feel the need to impress with words.  Lucie Rose, bless her she tries and usually winds up amusing us to no end.  Sweet Amelia...poor Amelia...precious Amelia...It will be interesting to see her take on words. 

When I taught we began using Wordly Wise for vocabulary and I.LOVED.IT.  Still do love it.  I decided I definitely wanted to use it with my children. 
Oh the vocabulary to be learned from this book!  It is consistent from lesson to lesson.  The kiddos know each week what they will be doing.  There are 15-20 lessons per book, depending on grade level. Each lesson has 10-15 words, again depending on grade level.  There are five parts to each lesson.  Each lesson begins with a word list.  The word list had definitions and sentences right there in the book.  The first activity is finding meaning.  You have to choose from four choices of sentence parts and put the correct parts together to make a complete sentence.  Activity B is Just the right word.  You are given a definition in the sentence and you have to change it to the word.  Activity C is a word application activity and Activity D usually deals with synonyms/antonyms or prefixes/suffixes.  D will vary from time to time and also make use of word origins also.  Finally activity E is a passage and comprehension questions.  The vocabulary words are used in the passage and you also have to use them in your answers to the questions.  And.....you have to write your answers in complete sentences. 
It is predictable in many ways and that helps with structure, if structure is what your after.  Which, I thrive on structure and so do my boys.  However, if you are looking for easy, this is not for you.  It is quite difficult.  I wanted to challenge my boys and this seems to provide some degree of challenge. 
What do I add to the mix?
Since we only do one lesson every two weeks and I use Wordly Wise for spelling, I add a couple of things.  One thing that I add is word maps.  I love word maps.  Word maps make sense. 
I wanted to upload a picture of the word map that we use and I guess I am just not technically savvy enough to make it happen.  Sorry.  If you will Google vocabulary word map you will get lots of good ideas.  The one that I use and have for years (started using while teaching 5th grade) looks a little something like this.

Definition in your own words                         Synonyms/Antonyms

                                        Vocabulary word

Meaningful sentence                                                Illustration

Imagine this in quadrants and there you have it.  I know this is a rough sketch so to speak, again I apologize. 
I love word maps.  I swear by word maps.  Word maps rule. 
I also make the boys write each word three to five times each (depending on how neat they are) at least two times.  Sometimes I ask them to write a story using at least five of their words.  This is an excellent opportunity to practice handwriting also. 

Words are empowering.  I want my kiddos to know just how much power there is in a word. Vocabulary is a subject we do not skip on ever.  That is why I do not just do spelling with them.  It is ever so important to know how to use the words they spell. 

So that is what I do.  What do you do?  How do you handle spelling and vocabulary?

Much love,

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