We are becoming Word Nerds!!!

Have you heard of this book?
Well, I hadn't until I saw it on Abby's blog The Inspired Apple.  So I decided to order it.  My ONLY regret is that I didn't have it sooner!!!!  People this book is awesome......like life changing....classroom changing AWESOME!!!!
So over Christmas break I read it and got OH SO EXCITED about teaching vocabulary.  We take a test called I-Ready and my kiddos were low in vocab and I was looking for something to spice it up and raise those scores!!!  I also have 4 ELL students and what I was doing wasn't working for all of them...some but not all.   Time for a change and I am convinced, this book is just what my class and I needed:)
I'm going to give you a little peek into my classroom last week as I introduced our first "vocabulary cycle".  *NOTE* Please keep in mind a) I am new to this "system" b) I am implementing things a little at a time and c) PLEASE don't just go by my posts....you have to read the book to really get it.
On my Monday Made It last week I blogged about the vocabulary lanyards I made for my class.  Well I chose words from our reading series and our science vocabulary words for this first vocabulary cycle.  I introduced the words with cloze sentences.
The kids loved this activity.  Forgive my sentences....I had no sentence strips so had to make them and then didn't do them in marker:/  Learning as I go....
After we did this I handed out the lanyards to some of my students.  We only had 9 words so the first day only 9 students got lanyards.
I wrote the vocabulary words in black.
Then we worked on our vocab journals.  This book gives several ideas, templates, forms....the works in the back to use.  We set our journals up using a modified version of the Frayer graphic organizer.

The first day we wrote the word, a child friendly definition, and an illustration.

The kids were super into it...we used dictionaries and iPods and iPads to look the words up.
We used the Dictionary app on the iPads and iPods.
Day 2 we looked up synonyms (examples) and antonyms (non-examples) using a thesaurus and iPads and iPods again:)

Well, as we were looking every once in a while my kids would say "Mrs. Eiken, there isn't a synonym!"  Panic!!!  No, not really....then I would say "Well then I guess we just have to use our brains!"  And we did.  I couldn't believe the conversations that were buzzing around the room and the connections they were making with other words....for example....one of our vocabulary words is coyote....one of my students said "wouldn't a synonym be hunter?" and then another said "yes, it's a hunter and it's also a predator and carnivore."  Can you see the light bulbs going off?!?!?!?  I was so excited!!!  So we added our synonyms and antonyms to our journals.
The next morning I added some of the synonyms and antonyms to the rest of our vocabulary lanyards.
Here are a few.  Word Nerds recommends color coding:)  I put synonyms in green and antonyms in red.  Now at this point, everyone is wearing a vocab lanyard:)
This is where our words go at the end of the day:)  I had this hanging up Monday morning when the kids walked in and boy was their interest sparked:)
Word Nerds is FULL of activities and ideas to get kids up and moving and using the words in several different ways.  One activity I chose to do last week is called Color Words.  I gave each student a blank note card.....on one side they had to write their word.  Then they had to choose ONE color that symbolizes that word.  ONE and color the side with the word the color they chose.  On the other side they had to write an explanation of why they chose the color they did.  Here are a few examples of what my kiddos did.

They loved this activity!  It really made them think.....really think:)  Makes this teacher happy!!
We also did another activity they talk about in the book called "Scramble".  At any point during the day I call out "Scramble" and the kids have to get in their word network group (with their synonyms and antonyms).  The first time we did this it took them a while to "find each other".  Another GREAT idea to get them up and moving and really connecting to and understanding their vocabulary words.
We have lots more to do this week with our vocabulary cycle before we test. 
People, listen......I have just scratched the surface of all the amazing things this book is spilling over with!  I can't wait to see where this new journey takes my kiddos:)  I think it's going to be a fun ride!
We are WORD NERDS!!!


  1. I love this Tara! I've got this book in my Amazon Cart now! Thanks for sharing... our next Q-Comp strategy is all about academic vocabulary and hopefully, this will me, my students (including my 9 ELs) out!

    Tales of a Teacher

    1. Ooops! I was typing so fast because I was so excited that I left out a word... it will HELP me and my students :)

  2. This book just arrived on my doorstep today from Amazon. Happy to hear about how you are starting out with it in your classroom. Thanks for sharing your enthusiasm and your classroom experiences.

  3. I'm def gonna have to check that one out! Looks great!
    Dirt Road Teacher

  4. I love this book. I revamped my reading/vocab instruction after reading this book. You're pictures literally look like you could've taken them in my classroom! I cannot say enough about this book and what it has done for my students.

  5. Awesome! I actually bought this book back in October...but it's still in my bag, unopened. It's good to know I picked out a good one! I'll be dusting it off and reading it soon!! Thanks for sharing your excitement! Now I'm dying to read it! :) Don't you love how your enthusiasm can spark motivation in others? So glad to be a part of this blogging community!!! ;)

  6. This looks phenomenal! I just ordered the book to read for myself. I hope you will share more of your vocabulary adventures- I look forward to learning more. Yeah you!
    On the Trail of Learning

  7. I LOVE this book! I did a whole blog series about it this summer. You are a rock star! I have been using the strategies all year but still haven't made the lanyards. Probably won't until next year now but I love the activities and so do my kids!

  8. I haven't heard of this book before ... but the people at Amazon wanted me to thank-you for helping me add ANOTHER resource to my cart. ;) And oh my goodness - I LOVE LOVE LOVE how they had to colour code the cards and then explain why they picked the colour - so perfectly perfect!

    Runde's Room

  9. did you just use lanyards and name badge holders from Staples? Love the color words! I also LOVE LOVE LOVE this book!!

  10. Thanks, Tara! I was wondering if this was adaptable to older kids - I remember seeing it on Abby's post, but didnt get to read through it. Did you create the vocab gab cards or did they give a template for it?

  11. Reading your post made me so excited!! I'm going to order this book for myself and my teaching partner!! She teaches ELA and Reading with most of the vocabulary instruction, but I'm sure I can find ways to pull this into math, science, and SS!!
    A Tall Drink of Water

  12. This all sounds so fun! I especially love the Color Words activity! Students these days need to learn how to justify and explain their thinking and this is great practice for that!

  13. I just added this book to my Amazon wish list! I LOVE the color words activity! Awesome idea!

  14. I need, I need. I am the Queen of the Nerd Herd...so this is fitting! Thanks for the suggestion and samples! xo
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

  15. Looks fabulous! I'll have to put that book on my wishlist. :)

  16. I have been using the strategies in this book all year to teach vocabulary and it has made my students become "Word Nerds". The love finding out the new words for the vocabulary cycle plus all the fun ways to practice them! I'm so glad you found this book and hope your class loves it has much as mine does!

    Adventures in 4th Grade

    Follow Me on Bloglovin

  17. I just ordered it! I can't wait to see what good strategies are on the inside! Thanks for this great post!
    A New Day of Learning
    Facebook Fan Page
    Teachers Pay Teachers

  18. Your pictures and videos make these activities look so engaging! Looking forward to purchasing this book asap! Thanks for sharing!

    Diary of a 21st Century Teacher

  19. I LOVE "Word Nerds" we have had such a FUN week celebrating WORDS!

  20. I just finished reading this book! I love the way you have the lanyards on hooks. That's a great way to keep them from getting lost (as I would!) and also to keep them visible and on their minds!

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