Word Rings - Growing our Vocab!

A few weeks ago I posted about something new I was trying in my classroom....Word Rings:)
Well, here's the update.....my kids LOVE this!  They ASK for it for homework:)  That's a dream to a teacher:)  So here is what we've been doing.  One to two times a week I give the kids a card to take home to use for their word.  Part of their homework is 20 minutes of nightly reading...during this time they are to find a word for their vocab card.
Once they do, on one side the draw pictures and/or word clues of their word.
On the other side they write their word and definition.
The next day when their cards are "due" I have my teacher's assistant go around in the morning and punch holes in the cards so the students can add them to their rings.  Any free time we have we go over our new words....I call on a student and they go up and put their card on the ELMO.  Then the students take turns guessing from the picture and word clues.....if they are having trouble, sometimes I give them a first letter.
The kids really look forward to this and are really enjoying making the clues!
As I said in my previous post....I had/have several hopes for this activity:
- that the kids will expand their own personal word knowledge....maybe even come across one of these new words on one of the tests and remember learning about it with the word rings activity
- that the students will learn new words AND use them in their writing
- that the students will use a higher level of vocabulary in their writing responses and their essays
- the kids will have fun learning and sharing their words...I have some shy kiddos so this has helped them in that area as well
I do have one rule with this activity....I ask that the words are not "easy" words....we are going for higher level vocabulary and have had many discussions about that.  Their guesses also can be "silly"/easy word guesses.....and let me tell you, they are quick to call each other out if someone is being a "lazy" guesser:)
The students also have used their word rings with some of their writing.  Our state writing test is next week!  EEK!  I'm hoping this has made a difference in helping them come up with better words to use in their essays as well. 
I do have one regret though......that I didn't start this a lot earlier in the school year:/  I will definitely be doing this earlier next year:)  It only takes a few minutes a day:)


  1. I love this and I'm totally using it next year! I think I'll add it to our word collector wall, along with the word solving anchor charts. Thanks for sharing!!

  2. This is a great idea and resource for students. Have you considered using technology in the classroom? There is a product that helps encourage language arts and vocabulary learning through any written materials online: http://bit.ly/mypropagate1 You should definitely check it out!

  3. I love this strategy for taking ownership of vocabulary. I know high school teachers who have used it!

    Brynn Allison
    The Literary Maven

  4. I begin student teaching in 4th grade tomorrow. This is something I can incorporate into the classroom. Thank you!

  5. I love word rings and the interactive nature you have given them. I will suggesting to our site coordinators!
    -Bri @ Knowledge Mobile

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