Quick Tips for Teaching Vocabulary in the Classroom

There are so many aspects to include in teaching literacy each and every day. One thing that should be present in each and every literacy activity is vocabulary. I personally feel like vocabulary is something that you are most likely already teaching at any given time because I find that it happens naturally as you are having discussions with your little friends. But, I also think that it needs to be explicitly done and it is important to make a big effort to include teaching vocabulary on a daily basis.

The Common Core Standards address vocabulary right away in kindergarten and continue to address them up through all the grades. The reason for that is because understanding the meaning of words majorly helps overall comprehension of text. Also, once the meaning of words are known, they will be more likely to actually be a part of everyday conversations in the classroom, on the playground, at home, etc.

The CCSS even dedicates an entire section to Vocabulary Acquisition and Use- again, beginning in kindergarten!

I compiled a list of quick tips that you can use to ensure you are teaching vocabulary in your classroom. As I mentioned before, you are likely already doing most of these....but here are just  a few ways to keep vocabulary study present in your daily activities!

Thanks to Hello Literacy for the fonts!

Have a great day!

Non Fiction Text That Kids Can Actually Read!

Using non fiction text with students is a must in any classroom. It makes them better readers, prepares them for a type of text that they will always read (no matter their age), but the best part- kids LOVE it! My little friends become so engaged with the real photographs and learning new facts about the topic.

The Common Core heavily emphasizes the need for informational text to be included on a regular basis. Students are both supposed to be reading non fiction text at their ability level and be able to respond to the text showing their understanding. Now, this is where I struggled. I rarely find text that are appropriate for my youngest readers that are also interesting. I have plenty of NF text that I read to my little friends that they love, but I wanted text that they could read on their own, at their level. Mainly I've found that text is too simple or too hard for my little readers. Which is why I created these passages!

I like to use a combination of my own passages and text that I can read aloud to my little friends. I use the other NF text as a way to supplement what we learned in the passages. This way we are comparing what we learned from the different texts.

I used my passages with my little readers and they loved them! They enjoyed learning new facts about all the different animals. I even focused on the same passage for the entire week with them and they still liked it by Friday...always a good sign. :) Each student has their own folder for the week full of pages that we complete as the week goes on. I first introduce my little friends to the main topic by displaying the main passage. We then create the K, W portion of a K, W, L chart. They also then write down anything they already know about the topic, write a prediction for something they may learn and a question they have about the topic.

The next few days we focus on responding to specific comprehension questions about the text, identifying key details, non fiction text features and vocabulary words. Each day we spend about 15-20 minutes rereading the text and completing the graphic organizers in their folders. We are addressing plenty of CCSS throughout the week!

On the last day, we focus on writing. We come back to our K, W, L chart and add any new things we have learned. We also create a "Can, Have, Are" chart together to help my little friends with their writing. These charts are a great way to ensure all students (no matter their ability level) will be able to write a few sentences about the topic.

The full 5-day format really engages my little friends and gives them multiple chances to show me they understood what they read! These passages can also be used as a one time comprehension check too if you are simply looking for ways to add more NF into your literacy block. You can even send them home for homework! In the classroom, these activities can be done in whole group, small group or even independent work during reading workshop (for your higher readers).

As I mentioned before, it is important for students not only to be exposed to NF text in read alouds, but they should also be doing the reading at their level as well. I have Kindergarten, 1st Grade and 2nd Grade Editions. The packs include 15 passages written at a readable level based on the grade level. In the kindergarten edition, the Lexile level of the passages 30-120. In the 1st grade edition, the Lexile level of the passages is 300-500. In the 2nd grade edition, the Lexile level of the passages is 500-650. My little friends have been successful in reading and responding to these NF passages. Makes my reading teacher heart happy! :)
Thanks to Teaching Super Power for the fun graphics and Hello Literacy for the fonts!

 If you are looking for engaging NF passages that your little friends will actually be able to read, you can check out my Kindergarten Edition1st Grade Edition and 2nd Grade Edition and grab a freebie sampler in the previews of each level. If you have a wide variety of levels in your classroom, check out the K-2 Bundle too!

Have a great day!

Makeover Madness: TPT Seller Challenge Week 1

Being a seller on TPT for 2.5 years now has been amazing! Since I've been a teacher (9 years gone already!), I have more or less been constantly creating things to use with my little friends. After using the products with my little friends, I then began making them "TPT ready" so that others can also help their little readers.  When I look back at my original products 2.5 years ago, some make me cringe a little...I just didn't totally know how to make them "TPT ready" yet at that point, but I've spent many a hour trying to make my products match my own style- both content-wise and prettiness wise. :)

I tend to spend more time working on new products just because I can never keep up with my little readers and what they need, but I also try to spend at least a little time updating old products as well. I generally do not change the content of my products when making edits, because I wouldn't have it up on TPT if I didn't think it was superb content wise! But, I do like to update backgrounds, fonts and graphics to make them the most kid-friendly as possible.

Sometimes I need a little extra motivation to actually work on editing products as opposed to working on new ones, which is why I love the #tptsellerchallenge that is going on right now.  Third in Hollywood, Teach Create Motivate,  Sparkling in Second & Peppy Zesty Teacherista have a great TPT summer challenge going on to motivate all us sellers! This week the theme was Makeover Madness- choosing a product and making it over.

I chose to makeover my Non Fiction Pack. This is a big seller of mine and I use it constantly with my kindergartners and 1st graders. It addresses all the CCSS for Informational Text with posters, graphic organizers and little journals. Though I did not change any content, this pack needed a new look- so I added new graphics, backgrounds and fonts to make it match the style of my other packs!

It went from this: 

To this: 

You can check out the updated pack here

Have a great day!

My Favorite Things About Summer!

I just love summer! My last day was last Friday and though I'm only halfway into my first week of summer, it is already amazing. I'm linking up with Teaching Trio to share a few of my favorite things about summer.

1. Vacations- I'm so lucky to have a hubby who is also a teacher and let me tell you, we definitely take advantage of being off together during the summer. We spend lots of time together, whether it's getting things done around the house or exploring places around us. We also LOVE going on vacations and summer is our best time for this. We've got two trips lined up including some beach time and some camping/hiking time. I'm very excited for both trips! I'm sure i'll be posting pics on Instagram, so come follow along if you aren't yet!

2. Working out- I try my hardest to exercise regularly during the year, but I tend to have some really good weeks/months and then some really not so good weeks/months. Which is why summer is so fantastic- I get to wake up well rested and begin my day with a workout! I like to do a variety of workouts from running to yoga to weights and summer really gives me the time to do all of them. I even get to swim laps since our neighborhood pool is open- woohoo!

3. Creating- Also something I try do keep up with during the year, but doesn't necessarily always work out that way based on having other things come up! Summer is a wonderful time for me to actually sit for a few hours and work on creations- whether it's TPT products or things for my house, I love having the time to really dedicate to being creative. I've got a few TPT products in the works that I've been using with my little readers this year but haven't had the chance to get all TPT ready- I'm excited to get them all done! 

Now it's your turn- share 3 of your favorite things, related to anything...link up with Teaching Trio!

Have a great day!

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