My Ah-ha Moment
I was so excited about when the ELL teacher told me what one of my ELL students said to her in group time. She came to me and asked, “Pam, what in the world did you say to Juan!” “He told me that he wanted to be “positive” Juan in the “New Year” and have a good “attitude.” I was thrilled to tell her he was using words from our January Vocabulary Calendar. This was my ah-ha moment! I realized that my student was applying what he had learned earlier with me.
I did some role play in my classroom about being negative and crying, saying things like,”I don’t want to do that, It is too hard, I don’t like it” Then I showed them what being positive looked like, “I am going to do my best, I can do this” I told them that it also helped their friends when they were positive to them: like smiling at them and encouraging them when they were having a difficult time. Juan was having a difficult time at the beginning of the school year. He was crying and he didn’t want to be in school. After this time of role play, he announced that he wanted to be “Positive Juan” and do his best!
I was so happy to see him change his attitude. I loved how he actually was applying the vocabulary he had learned. This was a great example of the power of words.
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My students have shown great progress in their writing because they use this vocabulary from our calendars. The weekly themes give them a bank of words that helps them keep on topic. The student writing I see shows me that they have confidence when they write now. They circle the thematic words from the calendar. These words also help my English Language Learners because they can make the connections with these words.
After my students complete their own calendars, they write about the word for the day. I also let them share their journal writing with a friend. They love sharing them! This makes a great literacy center and does not require a lot of preparation from me.
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January Cut and Paste Activities
I like using these January cut and paste activities for a center. I introduce how to complete the sheets in my guided reading groups, then my students will work on them in a center. We created these sheets to cover multiple literacy objectives. The activities cover our calendar words, sight words and phonics. I like to use the snowball sheets to discuss correct word order in a sentence. I remind the students that a sentence begins with a capital letter and ends in a punctuation mark. These sheets have periods, question marks and exclamation marks. My students like to call them the”excited marks.” We have also included a critical thinking question at the end of each sheet. I have used their answers to create class books.
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January Vocabulary Emergent Readers
I also reinforce these words when my students read our January Vocabulary Emergent Readers. The books are thematic and go with the January calendar. The books include: New Year, Martin Luther King Jr., Winter Weather and Arctic Region. Each book is also a song and includes comprehension questions in the back. There is a single page that I like to use in the students’ poetry/song notebooks. I make a poster out of it with the poster maker and the kids highlight the words we are studying for the week. There is a color copy and a black and white copy, as well as a teacher’s guide on different ways to use the empty boxes. I use these emergent readers in my guided reading groups to review the words as well as teach the phonetic features of the words. In the example below, my students wrote words with the sp blend like in speech.
Read more about these books here as well as see video testimonies.
January Vocabulary Brain Bounce
Sight Word Center
One of my students’ favorite center is this sight word center because they like building the words and trying to be the first one at their table to finish. I put 5 words and the letter manipulatives for those words in baggies. Each student gets a baggie. When they all finish they switch baggies. When a student finishes building all their words, they create new words with the letters they have. They like to write the words on white boards using the dry erase markers. That is always fun for them and it encourages them to think of new words with the letters.
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If you want a free snowman math activity check here:
January Vocabulary Memory Game
The last center that I want to discuss with you is our January Vocabulary Memory Game. The kids love this because of the real photos. The pictures also help them make connections to the words that we have been studying. We have also included just the words for your more advanced students. So, you can match picture to picture or picture to word or word to word.
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