Start the lesson by reading off some of the character questions from yesterday. Many of the questions they may have about Squeaky will stem from her colorful vocabulary. She uses phrases and terms that most of the students have never heard of before. I love that the author develops Squeaky through her interesting vocabulary because it makes her come alive in the story. From a teaching perspective, it also makes the vocabulary lesson more fun. Once students begin to understand what Squeaky is saying, they start to understand her personality more and appreciate her character.
As they bring these terms up, start discussing the words that they circled as unfamiliar in yesterday’s lesson. For this lesson, I like to focus on some specific words, and then add any that the students bring up if needed. There are many unfamiliar words, and narrowing them down to a few key words, makes the task more manageable.
Most of the time students are eager to share their words because of the fun and interesting language in this story. I record words up on the board that are going to be unfamiliar to most students and define words on the spot that are easier. This way, we can overlook those words that most of the students know, and focus on the more difficult ones.
Now, I will look at the list of words that the students gave me in the opening section of this lesson. I will also add some of my own because there are certain words and phrases that I really want to hit such as prodigy, May Pole dancing, concrete jungle, smiling to beat the band, handball, and ventriloquist-dummy routine.
Each student will need a piece of plain white paper. They'll fold it to make 4 squares. One word will go on each square (4 on the front and 4 on the back). I only chose 6 words, so I will have the students choose 2 other words that they want to learn.
Since many of these words are not found in the dictionary, we'll go through a little activity together to figure out their meanings. I will go through my six words and show a picture (note that the pdf has several pages) that represents each. We'll define the word according to the picture first. Then, we'll go back to the story and find the word. They probably already marked this word in the first reading, so it should stand out. I'll ask the students to highlight the sentence/sentences containing the word as they read it. We'll talk about our picture based definition, and decide if it still makes sense now that we see the word in context. We will make any changes to the definitions if necessary. Next I'll have students write their own sentence using the word. The sentence must prove that they have an understanding of the word. One way that I do this is by asking them to use at least 3 out of the 5 questions words in the sentence. (Who, What, When, Where, Why, How).
For the word "prodigy" a student could say, "The child prodigy was playing the piano beautifully by age 3." This sentence tells me WHO, WHAT, HOW, and WHEN.
I often use this requirement for sentence writing because it helps students write more elaborate sentences, and for this vocabulary activity, it shows if a student understands the meaning of the word.
When students work on their 2 words of choice, they may need to see a picture of the word or look it up in the dictionary to formulate a definition. I will be available to show pictures on my smart board, and students may also look their words up on their phones or even use a dictionary! (gasp!)
This is a noisy but fun vocabulary activity that I like to use to help students remember the words after they been exposed to them. They love doing this activity because they get to move around and talk to each other. I'll have the vocabulary words from today written on index cards. Every student needs one, so words will be repeated. I will go around the room and tape a word card to each student’s back. Once everyone has a word, the students will then get up and circulate around the room. Their job is to figure out what their vocab word is by asking yes or no questions to the other students. We are working with sixth graders here, so I always tell them that their question cannot be, "Is my word __________." If I don't say it, they'll do it! Once they figure out their word, they help other students.
This activity is crazy fun, and the students love it. Once they have completed a round, they always want to do it again.
This activity is perfect for those active learners, and it requires students to think about the attributes of different words.