Vocabulary Inquiry, Day 1

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Students will be able to determine the meaning of words in a text through context and using a dictionary.

Big Idea

Students choose and learn the words they are unfamiliar with using a variety of resources.


10 minutes

What events have happened in “The White Umbrella” in the exposition and rising action? Have we reached the climax, falling action, and resolution? Explain with thoughtful commentary.

Daily Grams

10 minutes

For today's grammar mini-lesson, we're back to Evan Moore's Daily Paragraph Editing.  This week's topic is immigration and the title is "Immigration and Ellis Island." It's a nonfiction article.



One student in every class suggested that we would not need to capitalize 'historian' in sentence 4.  However, if you don't capitalize it you end up with a run-on sentence, which is certainly not what you want.


Sentence 7 gives us a chance to discuss the difference between emigrate and immigrate.  If someone is leaving a country, the word to use is emigrate.  If someone is entering a country, you want to use immigrate.  Since this paragraph is about the reasons for leaving a country, emigrate is correct.


Of course, in sentence 7, we have the opportunity to practice there/their/they're.  In this case, we want the possessive form.

Finishing "The White Umbrella"

10 minutes

First hour only had two pages to finish, whereas fourth hour had four pages. 


Before starting, I asked three students to remind us what happened.  Zoe told us every detail she could remember and pretty much covered it all.  This quick review only took a couple of minutes.  During this review, I clarified that we didn't know the narrator's name, so we could refer to her as "Mona's sister" or "the narrator."


Like yesterday, I had the students pause and write a question and a vocabulary word on sticky notes.  The last question and word occurred after the end of the story.    As we continued reading, I added the words from the sticky notes to the master list. 


Their reactions to the end of the story was anti-climatic.  I thought that they would have more to say right away, but they didn't.


15 minutes

I'd asked the students to write a word or phrase that they didn't know, they thought was important, or was an example of 'lovely language.'  As a side note, the phrase 'lovely language' was introduced to me by Cheryl Mango-Paget as a way of describing the qualitative component of text complexity.


After I collected the sticky notes, I compiled a list of the words.  This is actually one of the things that I did while students were reading, so I wasn't being completely useless.  The picture below shows the words that they identified. The words in red were words that more than two students wrote down.











 I asked the students which words they knew the meaning of and were important.  We put an X through those words.  However, they couldn't just say that they knew the word, they had to prove it.  They had to provide a definition and an example.  Then I asked the rest of the class if they felt they knew the word and asked them to show me with thumbs up, down, or sideways.  If a couple of students had sideways or down thumbs, we kept the word.  If a student couldn't adequately explain the meaning (the word crusty, for example), we kept it. 


During this process, I was able to provide some direct instruction on suffixes.  Students chose pianist and florist, so we talked about what the suffix -ist means. We even connected it to "Tulipmania!" because the word botanist appears.Therefore, the -ist suffix means someone who specializes in.


I might have also covered the suffix -ous, but there weren't enough words that ended in the suffix.


We started out with thirty words, but whittled it down to fifteen, if I counted correctly.  I may not have. 


We then took the words that we didn't know and wrote them on the nifty graphic organizer I'd created.  I used this as closure, because we were preparing for tomorrow's lesson.


5 minutes

For closure, I had students write the words that we didn't know on the graphic organizer.  I prepared them for what would be coming tomorrow--predicting what these words mean through context and checking our predictions for accuracy.  By writing the words down today, we'd be ready for tomorrow.

Lesson Resources

Today's lesson picture was created with Glogster.