Showing posts with label trade books. Show all posts
Showing posts with label trade books. Show all posts

Vocabulary sometimes gets left out in primary grades because we feel like we have "bigger fish" to fry in getting kids to actually decode and read.

But explicit tier 2 vocabulary instruction needs a place at the table in the Kindergarten, first grade, and second grade classroom too.  I love using picture books to teach vocabulary during our whole group reading lessons.  It's quick, authentic, and so easy that you can leave it on your sub plans!  

You can read about the routines I use in this blog post, but today, I'm answering a question I often get about tier 2 vocabulary words.  How do I decide what words to do?  Where do the words come from?  And what exactly are tier 2 words anyways?

What Are Tier 2 Words?

Before talking about what tier 2 words are, it's important to remember what tier 2 words are NOT.  Words can be classified as tier 1, tier 2, or tier 3 words.  Tier 2 words are NOT sight words or mortar words.  Those are tier 1 words.

Tier 2 words are also NOT academic vocabulary words like herbivore or voting. Those are content specific, tier 3 words. 

Tier 2 vocabulary words are those colorful words that make books exciting.

beckon, brilliant, shimmer, chuckle.... just to name a few!  Need some more examples?  Get a sneak peek at all of the words I use for all 25 books I have lessons for below!

Most quality picture books that are intended for read alouds are full of tier 2 words.  You just have to train your eye to look for them.

Now that we can agree on what tier 2 words are, let's talk about how to choose the most effective tier 2 words.

Find A Good, Solid Picture Book

First, before I can think about the wordlist, I need to find the book.  In my non-expert opinion, the best book for explicit vocabulary is one that is engaging, has great illustrations, and is one I'm already using for something else!

For example, last year in 2nd grade homeschool, we did a Next Gen Science unit on landforms and talked about erosion.  We were already reading this fiction book in science to illustrate erosion cause and effects.  And we were also already using it in writing to study the author's craft of descriptive phrases.

So, I decided to look through it and see if I could find enough tier 2 words to make a lesson out of for vocabulary.  BAM!  Done!  We read the book during our reading time and did the vocabulary lesson and then also reread it during science and focused on erosion cause and effects to introduce our STEM challenge. #winning

Another thing to consider is that the reading level of the book.  Patterned books like, Brown Bear, Brown Bear are probably not going to work for teaching tier 2 words.  Those type of books are going to be full of tier 1 words and not helpful.  So, no beginning readers, leveled readers, or repetitive texts for the most part.

On the other hand, content books are not going to be great either.  Reading a non-fiction book about erosion would be great during science, but it wouldn't be as helpful when studying tier 2 words because the academic vocabulary, or tier 3 words, would be getting in the way of learning tier 2 words.  Instead of being able to critically think about the tier 2 words I choose, kids would get "stopped up" needing to know the content specific words.

A good, solid, fiction story that's engaging and one I'm already using is exactly the kind of book I'm after for explicit tier 2 vocab lessons.

Now then, let's choose some words!

Words Kids Aren't Saying

The first tier 2 words that jump out at me when I'm previewing through a possible picture book are words my students aren't using in everyday conversations.  

I go through the book and write down every word that is off the beaten path for my kids to use in classroom conversations.  

Maybe my kids say their snack tastes "really good," but not "delicious."  Delicious could be a possible tier 2 word to teach.  Or, if my group uses delicious, but they don't often say, "scrumptious," then maybe that's the word I write down.

It's important to know that I write down the root word and then teach all variations of the word during the lesson.  I also add a checkmark every time I see the word (or a version of it) repeated.

You know your kids best.  Listen to their conversations.  They are letting you know when they talk which vocabulary words they are most comfortable using.  By explicitly teaching tier 2 words, we are increasing their oral language skills and, eventually their reading comprehension and writing style.

Words You Want Kids To Write

Speaking of writing... that's another thing I consider when choosing tier 2 words.  Which words do I want to see kids using in their writing?

With that in mind, I go through my list of words for the book I've chosen and mark through any words kids are already using in their writing.  This is because I don't always hear kids say all of the words that are in their vocabulary.  Our written language is different than our spoken language.  We use words in our writing that sometimes we don't have the opportunity to say in casual conversation.  Because of this, I know that if kids are correctly using a tier 2 word on my list in their formal writing, then it's a word they have a solid understanding of, even if they don't say it in conversations.  

I also star words that I would LOVE to see kids include in their writing the most.

The Most Bang For My Buck

I like to keep my list of words I teach in a vocabulary lesson to somewhere between 3 and 6 words, depending on the time I have to teach, the age group I'm with, and the difficulty of the words.

Usually, when I first make my list of possible words, I have more than that.  In my example, I started with 17 words that are unusual to hear my kids using in the classroom.

Then, I marked through words kids already use in their writing and starred words I want kids to use the most.

Now, I'm ready to look over the list again, thinking about the words that are going to give me the most bang for my buck.  What do I mean by that?  

I'm looking for words that my kids don't use, but if they started using them, there would be a lot of opportunities to use that word.  

For example, crest is a great, tier 2 word, but not one my kids would have many opportunities to use in their speaking or writing.  But, invade is a word I could totally see them using more, especially boys! :)

I'm also looking for words that we can illustrate well, use in everyday sentences, and have multiple synonyms so that it will strengthen their comprehension and understanding of the word.  

Finalizing the List

In the example I've been using with The Tide Is Coming In, I'm for sure using the word "defend" because it was used in the text multiple times.

I also chose fortress, invade, rogue, and deposit because they are unusual words my 2nd grader wasn't saying or writing and I knew he didn't know the full meaning of those words.

Now that I've narrowed my 17 word list down to 5 words, I'm ready to teach!  I use Google slides to teach the words whole group (or they can be assigned in Google classroom).  And I print out the independent page for some writing practice and reinforcement.  You can find this lesson here and all of my Tier 2 lessons already planned and ready to teach here.  

I absolutely love reading Tomie dePaola's Legend of the Indian Paintbrush story around Thanksgiving!  It's a beautiful story and sets the stage for an awesome art project.  Let's chat more about this book and how we made a beautiful piece of art based on the book!

Why Read The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush?

Aside from the art project we did, we got a lot out of this book last week!  

We used this book for learning about legends and their characteristics.  We looked for evidence in the text to show each of the characteristics of legends.

We also learned 6 new tier 2 vocabulary words using our Tier 2 slideshow and response sheet!  Cooper loves learning new words and I love that we are learning them in a meaningful way!

Sunset Art Project

At the end of the week, we were reading to create our sunset pieces just like Little Gopher.  Here are the materials we used:

You could definitely use watercolors to paint like Little Gopher did in the book, but I chose pastels because it was a different medium we hadn't used before and it went with my goals for learning about medium and technique!

We learned about the art terms, "medium" and "technique."  Our medium was pastels and our technique we learned was blending.

First, we chose the colors of our sunset from the pastels.  Then, we made stripes of each color with the pastels.

(I would suggest leaving LESS white space between the stripes.  I ended up adding more color all the way to the edges.)

Then, we blended the colors together using a kleenex.

Here's a video of the blending in action...

After everything was blended like we wanted, we were ready to add the silhouettes!  First, we cut out a black hill landscape and glued it to the bottom.  Then we added the tipis and details.

(Note: my cardstock was wider than my black paper so I trimmed it after I was completely finished to clean up the look!)

Cooper wanted to add Little Gopher in his piece.  I think it turned out so great and it was SUPER easy!

As I mentioned last week, we are temporarily homeschooling my 2nd grader. #thanksCoVid  So, this year, I'll be blogging about our 2nd grade homeschooling adventures.

Today we finished our first official week!  We've been reading Frog and Toad together during our literacy time.  So today, we did a STEM challenge in honor of Frog and Toad and the #cancelled Olympic Games!

My 7 year old son has been obsessed with folding paper airplanes!  He has this book he got for Christmas and LOVES it!  So, I decided to find a foldable frog we could make as a craft because he also loves to do any kind of crafts.  

When I was looking for an origami book that had a frog in it, I found this one from our local library. (We LOVE that they do curbside pickup right now!)  When I saw it was a *jumping* frog, I knew we had to do a STEM challenge!

That's where the Frog and Toad Origami Games STEM Challenge was born!  SIDE NOTE:  Have you watched any of the marble run games on YouTube?  We have loved those during the CoVid Quarantine and no live sports!  And it was another inspiration for this challenge. :)

We followed the super easy step-by-step directions in the origami book.  And then we added googly eyes!

Then, we were ready to let the games begin!!

Event 1: Frog Races

First, Cooper took sidewalk chalk and drew a *short* track for the frogs to race.  FAIR WARNING: These frogs jump, but not high and not far!  So a short track is best! :)

Then, we took turns racing and timing Frog and Toad.  Frog went first!

We recorded our times on the recording sheet and each took 2 tries to race.

Event 2: Frog Hurdles

For the next event, we used bendy straws to make 3 hurdles.  Because our frogs didn't jump as high, we made an easy, medium and hard hurdle!

Frog and Toad each got two tries to jump each hurdle.  Toad only jumped the easies hurdle once, but Frog jumped the easy AND the hardest hurdle. (Frog had help from the wind!)

But neither Frog, nor Toad, made it over the medium hurdle!

Event 3: Long Jump

Last, we set up our long jump event.  Because our frogs jump on a smaller scale, we made a smaller scale long jump area.

Frog jumped 5 lines, but Toad only got 1 line for his farthest jump! :)

You can find all of our literacy lesson plans and STEM challenge plans and pages here!

Traditionally, in first grade, I've taught animal classification and the human body for our state science standards.  But with the introduction of the Next Gen Science Standards, life science has shifted to organism structures and heredity.  So, I've developed a new unit to align better with these newer standards.  And I'm SUPER pumped about how we are learning our new big idea: "Organisms have tools for survival!"

Here's an overview of what's covered in our organisms unit.
{Affiliate links are included in this blog post to support this website and my chocolate addiction! :)}

Week 1: What Are Organisms?

The first week of the unit we learn a lot of vocabulary needed for this unit.  We learn what the difference is between living and non-living things through this sort (a digital interactive version is available too!) and this fun organism song.

Then, we start charting what plants and animals can do, have, and need to survive.  We finish this week by comparing plants and animals to gain a deeper understanding of these two categories of organisms.

Week 2: How Are Offspring Like Their Parents? How Do Offspring Learn To Survive?

During the first part of the second week, we learn how babies are like their parents.  We read about and chart names for different animal babies and how they learn to survive.  And we play find your partner with baby animals and their parents.

Then, we research our own traits that we get from our parents.  We send home a family traits survey (with several options for atypical families with adopted or fostered children, etc...).

After the family traits survey homework is returned, we do a carousel activity to tally our trait data for everyone in our class by observing our inherited traits.

And during our math time, we graph our inherited traits!

Week 3: What Do Organisms Use To Survive?

This week we start off by learning about plant parts.  But our focus is to go deeper and learn their jobs for helping the plant survive.  We make a plant parts jobs flip book with this adorable craft option!

Then, we shift to animals and read about adaptations that animals have made to survive.

We set up adaptation stations around the room for kids to rotate through and explore and experience 8 different adaptations animals make.  You can read more about this in depth in this blog post (coming soon!)

One of my favorite activities during these stations is matching animal adaptations to ways humans mimic those adaptations.  It's a great way to build up that background knowledge for the upcoming STEM project later in the week!

STEM Challenge: Copy Cat

During the end of week 3, we work on our STEM challenge!  This one is called copy cat because students are mimicking an organism adaptation to build something to solve a human problem.  This challenge come straight from the Next Gen Standards.

I'm going to be honest here, ya'll.  When I first saw this engineering standard, I was like, "What the heck????"

No lie.  #realtalk

But once I got into creating this unit, I actually really, TRULY love this challenge now.  I feel like we have set up our first graders with enough background knowledge, examples, and experiences with adaptations to help them be successful with this challenge.

Want to see how this challenge works exactly?  And how to make it attainable for littles?  Read this blog post for more detail! (coming soon!)  Here's a sneak peak...

Organism Trade Book List

Want links to the trade books I use in this unit?

Find all of the affiliate links here!
What's Alive
Animal Babies
Animal Babies On the Farm
All In The Family - heredity
How Animal Babies Stay Safe
Born in the Wild
Raising Babies: What Animal Parents Do
Are You My Mother?
The Ugly Duckling
Experiment with Parts of a Plant
The Tiny Seed
What If You Had Animal Feet?
What Do You Do With A Tail Like This?

Snag this unit or grab this bundle of all Next Gen Science Standard Units for First Grade and save!

I'm not gonna lie, when those Next Gen Science Standards came out and had light waves and such for first grade, my stomach turned in knots a little. Ok, a lot

Because physics is not my strong suit.  Like, for reals.

And I may have let out a sigh of relief that I'm on a short term Mommy break from the classroom.

But then, I dug my heals in and came across some great books on light, made some connections to things I was already teaching in first grade, and this Light unit, along with this list of awesome trade books, was born!
{This post contains affiliate links which means that I get a tiny bit of pocket change from each purchase to feed my chocolate addiction! :)}

All of my integrated units and Next Gen Science Units come with big ideas and essential questions.  I just don't know how to teach without guiding truths and questions--it keeps me on track, focused on the bigger picture and helps me make literacy and math connections more easily!  Here are the essential questions for this unit and the books I used as literacy connections!

Week 1: Why Do We Need Light?

During this first week, we are reading about what light is, light sources and charting our learning.  And all of that research leads us to our Pinhole Box STEM connection (read about that HERE) to learn why we need light.  Here are the books we use for this first week... Click on the covers to

Week 2: How Do Materials Affect Light?

This second week is jam packed full of academic vocabulary like opaque, translucent, refract, reflect, and more!  And the best and most engaging way to learn new concepts is through science labs.  You'll find a ton of labs in week 2 that I'll blog about later!  But I love how much literacy can be pulled in even when science labs are the primary focus.  Click the covers to find the books!

Week 3: How Can We Use Light?

The first part of week 3, we learn some real life applications for using light.  We study fireflies (and make a firefly which I've blogged about before!), lighthouses, as well as make our own connections for how we use light!  There are great fictional connections this week as well!

Week 3: What Color Is Light?

Yes, I know this is the second week 3... That's just because there are 2 essential questions in the same week!

The second half of week 3, we learn about the science of color with my favorite man Bill Nye and then do one of my favorite science experiments I've blogged about before: Catching Rainbows!

Make sure you follow my blog because I'll be blogging about some of our favorite light STEM challenges and science labs in the next couple of weeks!

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