Tag Archives: dictionary

Second Grade Writes “Never” Poems

Second grade students created poems for National Poetry Month using a template (https://writeshop.com/writing-a-never-poem)  for a “Never Poem” which emphasizes repetition and alliteration.  We discussed what poetry was and some of the characteristics of poems.  I modelled the writing using a white board and let the students help me think up words (all starting with the same consonant). Then we talked about adjectives and added adjectives to describe the nouns we had chosen.

Photos of never poems

Dictionary and Thesaurus Available

I had dictionaries and thesauri at the tables to help them find words if they were drawing a blank; this also served as a review for these reference sources.

Flipgrid for an Audience

One class had the chance to record themselves reading their poems on Flipgrid, but due to time restraints (state test prep, etc.) the others might not get to record.  I think it is important to give the students opportunities to record themselves.  It is a good learning experience and they love to see and hear themselves! flipgrid.com/3a42d1

screen capture of Flipgrid

 

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2nd Grade Dives into Reference Books: Dictionary & Encyclopedia

Second grade students come in with very little experience with reference sources, so we usually kick off with dictionaries. I try to give them an opportunity to use them near the beginning of the year.  We kick off our lessons about reference tools with a traditional paper dictionary.  They were assigned a word that related to Jimmy Carter, one of the historical figures they were studying in their unit of inquiry.  They looked up the word and I asked them to copy the definition.

Guide Works-Necessary Skill

I had them practice using guide words the previous week with some laminated guide letter pages and actual words.  After an overview of how dictionaries are arranged and a review of alphabetizing words the students work in pairs, receiving 3 words which they put in alphabetical order.  They then proceed to the guide letter sheets which are spread out on low book shelves.  That’s all we do that week.

Guide letter sheets and words

Guide letter sheets and words

A teacher snapped this photo of me.  She said there are never any pictures of me as I am always the one behind the camera!

A teacher snapped this photo of me. She said there are never any pictures of me as I am always the one behind the camera!

Using the Dictionary

The next week, we reviewed the form and function of dictionaries.  I had them work in small groups again, as they looked up the word and chose one definition.  They indicated the part of speech the word they were looking up was and proceeded to write down a definition.

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Graphic organizer for dictionary lesson

Graphic organizer for dictionary lesson

Encyclopedia

We moved onto encyclopedias the next week.  Once again I chose an historical figure they were studying, Tomochichi, as our subject.  We used the online version of World Book Encyclopedia, as they can all be looking up the same subject and we are only limited by the number of computers we have (or tablets they bring with them).   I asked them to search for Tomochichi and read through the article (only 3 brief paragraphs) which is on an appropriate reading level.  They then decided which fact to record on their sheet.  I also added a spot for them to record which source they were using (they just had to write, World Book Kids or World Book Encyclopedia), as I want them to get in the habit of citing their sources.

Encyclopedia graphic organizer

Encyclopedia graphic organizer

2nd grade students using our World Book Encyclopedia online subscription

2nd grade students using our World Book Encyclopedia online subscription

Next week we moved onto atlases.

 

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Tricking the Tallyman, Government & Reference Tools

 

 

I enjoy reading Jacqueline Davies’ Tricking the Tallyman: The Great Census Shenanigans of 1790 to 3rd grade students. It’s illustrated by S.D. Schindler.  Hey, how often do you get to use words like shenanigans, scoundrel and phrases like “cheese and chowder”?  Our 3rd graders have a unit on government and its functions, so it’s a fun way to dive into those ideas.

Georgia Performance Standards SS3CG1 The student will explain the importance of the basic principles that provide the foundation of a republican form of government

c. State an example of the responsibilities of each level and branch of government.

This is how we tie in the book, because it covers the census, taxes, representation, government services, and conscription.  img_0093

Practice Using Reference Tools

By this time in the school year, we have already used a dictionary, thesaurus, an atlas and an encyclopedia (both print and online), so I decided we would practice again.  There are some unfamiliar words and concepts in Davies’ book, so I thought we would become more familiar with them before we read the book.

I divided them up amongst the different reference tools. They looked up tricky words in the dictionary and thesaurus (tally, census, scoundrel, heartsick, shenanigans, conscription, tax, etc).  For the atlas activity the students found Montpelier, Vermont (Tunbridge is so small that it wasn’t in our road atlases) and noted what they could learn from looking at the map.  Using our online World Book Encyclopedia, the students answered questions about the census.

Students recorded their findings.

Students recorded their findings.

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The following visit we shared what we learned and then we read the book.  I think the students understood the book more fully having familiarity with the new words and concepts.

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April is National Poetry Month-“Never” Poems

All week we have been reading and writing poetry in the library!  The second grade students had a chance to write a poem involving alliteration.  I found a pin on Pinterest that led me to an entry on WriteShop.com called ” ‘Never’ Poems: Write a Silly Poem” by Kim Kautzer.  It is silly and the children had a ton of fun writing and reading their poems.

Coming Up with Words: Word Bank, Dictionary and Thesaurus

We have 4 second grade classes at my school, so I had the opportunity to modify and adapt my instruction as the week went on.  Of course, the last class went the smoothest and was probably the most successful.  I like to think of this as perfecting the process for next year!  First we discussed what the students knew about poetry and I mentioned that repetition is common in poetry and alliteration is also found in poems.  I found that the students had an easier time writing if they chose a consonant and just brainstormed words that began with that letter first and wrote them down.  They then worked from the list they wrote.  After working with two classes I decided we needed to have dictionary and thesaurus on each table for those that got stuck or couldn’t think of enough words.

Format for the Poem

Here is the format:

I would never eat

I would never wear

I would never buy

I would never read

I would never go

I would always like to think about

And I promise I will neverNever Poem by 2nd grade students using template

Flipgrid and Facebook

The students had a good time writing these poems.  They would tickle themselves when reading them and just laugh out loud!  How fun to hear laughter in the library.  I chose the best poems and had those students record themselves using Flipgrid.  We pay for a subscription to Flipgrid and it is worth it!  Flipgrid provides the students with an opportunity to videotape themselves and quickly see the results.  It also gives the students an authentic audience.  After I finished recording each class, I emailed the link to the teacher so that all the students could see the videos of the poems.

Our school now has a Facebook page (run by yours truly!), which gives us the chance to showcase our students’ work to an even wider audience.  It’s also an incentive.  When I tell the students that I will be choosing the best work to video tape, some will ask, “Are you going to put it on Facebook?”

Watch our students reading their “Never Poem”.  http://flipgrid.com/#2cb48680

Flipgrid screenshot

 

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Third Grade Students Polish their Dictionary Skills

After checking with the 3rd grade chairperson, she suggested practice using a dictionary.  So I created an activity to reinforce all the skills needed to successfully use a paper dictionary. Our third grade students practiced using a traditional dictionary by looking up interesting new words.  I chose words that were a little beyond the usual spoken vocabulary for this age group (falter, impartial, loot, quest, throng, etc.), but weren’t too difficult or abstract.   To help them review the function of a dictionary, I asked them why they thought someone invented dictionaries. They came up with definition, pronunciation, spelling, etc.   I went over the different parts of the graphic organizer, making clear what I was asking them to do. We briefly reviewed what “guide words” were, too.

Graphic Organizer

I designed a very simple graphic organizer for each student to use.  This time I had the students work by themselves, no sharing of dictionaries! I asked them to include the page number where they found their assigned word and they had to record the guide words that were on the page where they found their word.  They also indicated what part of speech their word was, by circling the appropriate word.

I asked them to write down one definition (only one, even if there was more than one).

Third grade students polishing their dictionary skills using dictionary and graphic organizer

Third grade students polishing their dictionary skills.

 

Students practice using dictionaries, utilizing alphabetizing skills, plus writing practice.

Students practice using dictionaries, utilizing alphabetizing skills, plus getting writing practice.

Writing Practice

After finding the definition of the word, they wrote a sentence that demonstrated they grasped the meaning of the word.  I included the writing component as our students need lots of practice with writing.   Some of the students surprised me by coming up with some very creative sentences.  I had to have some students edit their sentences, as they either didn’t use the word in the correct way, ie. they used it as a noun and it was an adjective or the sentence just didn’t make sense (that’s why they need lots of practice).

Alphabetical Order

As I could see that some students were still struggling with alphabetical order (I had to sing the ABC song a lot to assist them), with the second class I added another step.  When they successfully completed their graphic organizer, I had the students place their paper on the table and we put them in alphabetical order as they brought them up to me.  More singing of the ABC song!

 Cursive Curve Ball!

I know that our students also need more experience and practice with cursive writing. When I wrote in the assigned word on the graphic organizer for each student, first I printed it, but I then also wrote it in cursive!  Some were able to recognize that it was the same word while others were confused and thought it was a second word!

Bookmark Reward

I don’t know I haven’t done this before, but after successfully completing the activity they each received a bookmark.  They were excited about that!

 

 

 

 

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Reference Tools: Third Grade Digs into Dictionaries

One of my third grade teachers said in passing the other day, that she was assuming that I was going to be teaching the students about reference tools.  I was planning on it, but was waiting for inspiration for a new approach or activity.  Thought a bit and then realized that with our school system’s 1:1 initiative on the way (tablets coming our students’ way), I should also instruct students about the online equivalent to the traditional format.

New Hook-Using Real Tools

Borrowing an idea from one of my Florida State classes (online program for my Specialist Degree), I brought in real tools and the students talked about how the tools were used. We talked about needing the correct tool for the job and when you need information you also need just the right tool.

tools

Used real tools to help the students relate that reference tools also have unique purposes

We started off with the dictionary.

Printed vs Online

I checked with the third grade teachers to see if they had been using dictionaries in their class so far this year.  Two had and the other two had not.  I skipped the hands on dictionary time with those classes that had some experience with dictionaries this school year.  We did look up a word in the paper dictionary for those who needed practice.  We then looked up the same word in the online dictionary.  I created a graphic organizer so that the students could compare the different formats to discover the similarities and differences.

Form and Function: IB Key Concepts

As we are an International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme school, I focused on two IB key concepts at this stage, form (what is it like) and function (how does it work) while comparing the paper and online dictionaries.

Dictionary: form and function. This is what the students figured out about this reference tool.

Dictionary: form and function. This is what the students figured out about this reference tool.

I had the students use http://www.dictionary.com and working in small groups, they used a graphic organizer to list similarities and differences.  The students figured out that although the form was different, the dictionaries, whether paper or online, have the same functions: providing definitions, showing syllables, listing parts of speech.  They also figured out that the printed dictionary was arranged in alphabetical order and you used guide words to find the word.  They noticed that the online dictionary did not list the words in abc order, but they had to type in the word they were looking up.  A couple of students also discovered that if you aren’t careful and misspell the word or make a typo, you will not find your word!

I will continue to have the students compare the print and online version of each reference tool.

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Researching Snowflakes, Paper Flakes & Blogging

It doesn’t snow very often here in south Georgia, but I thought we could still enjoy learning about snowflakes!  I started off reading Snowflake Bentley, by Jacqueline Briggs Martin to all of the 3rd grade classes.  I also wanted the students to review and practice using reference sources.

Reference Practice

I had the students partner up and use either a dictionary, an encyclopedia or an atlas.  They looked up the definition of snow or snowflakes or wrote one fact about snow from the encyclopedia.  The students used the atlas to locate the city of Snowflake and to determine what state it was in.   Reading the Snowflake Bentley book and doing the research used all of our time for the first week.

Photograph by Snowflake Bentley

Image from Creative Commons

Sharing our Research and Cutting Paper Snowflakes

The next week we reviewed what they learned about snow and snowflakes.  I summarized the facts on a whiteboard and then we proceeded to the fun part.  The students cut out 6 sided paper snowflakes.

Students showing off their paper snowflakes

Students with their paper snowflake creations!

Thinglink and Digital Snowflakes

I created a Thinglink page that included 2 websites where you can cut “virtual” snowflakes.  The sites are so much fun and a bit addictive!   Check it out…http://www.thinglink.com/scene/479319938847211522.

My Thinglink post about snowflakes and Snowflake Bentley

  My Thinglink post about snowflakes and Snowflake Bentley

I sent the link to the teachers and they let the students explore the Thinglink page which also had links to the Bentley museum and the NOAA website containing many of Bentley’s photographs.

Blogging on Edmodo

On the 3rd week I created Edmodo accounts for every student and they had the oppourtunity to blog about all of their “snowflake” experiences from researching to cutting snowflakes (paper and digital).  I had the students write down their thoughts about the whole process, from reading the book, Snowflake Bentley through research and cutting snowflakes.  I asked them to use the International Baccalareate (IB) PYP concept questions, the IB Learner Profiles and Attitudes while reflecting on the experience.  They wrote on index cards so when the time came to blog, they already had their thoughts down on paper.

Student writing on index card while looking at IB PYP Learner Profile and Attitude

Student using the IB PYP Learner Profiles & Attitudes to write reflection.  Girls reflecting on snowflake activities

Students reflecting on snowflake activities prior to blogging.

We also reviewed some internet etiquette.  I think they did a great job for the most part on reflecting on their experience and sharing it with their classmates on Edmodo.  Here are a few samples.

Jalen S: What are the points of view?The neighbor was excited because he knew nobody had ever taken a picture at a snowflakes before. I wondered- How can you cut straight lines?

Kameron: So the snowflakes have 6 sides. I got a dictionary for snowflakes and found out what it has.It snowed on Wednesday and I felt excited. What does it look like in real life?

Abi: Snowflake Bentley is open-minded.He thinks that snowflakes were cool.When I had to create a snowflake it was difficult.

By the way…I think I made it snow in Albany, GA!  We actually saw a dusting of snow on January 29 which was one of the weeks we were doing our snow instruction.

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