Tag Archives: dictionary

“Never” Poems, Second Grade and National Poetry Month

We celebrated National Poetry Month with all grade levels. Second grade students wrote a “Never” poem which features repetition and alliteration.   We used a template I found on WriteShop.com (https://writeshop.com/writing-a-never-poem).  The students used dictionaries & thesauri to find words if they got stuck for ideas.

 

Recorded Poems on Flipgrid

I used Flipgrid so the students could record themselves reading their poem. This gives them an authentic audience and practice reading aloud.  I also shared this on the school’s Facebook page to further widen the audience and let parents see what their children are doing.

2nd

Check us out!  https://flipgrid.com/876d05

Flipgrd

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2nd Grade and Reference Tools

Hands on: Dictionary 

Near the beginning of each school year, I introduce second grade students to two reference tools, dictionaries and encyclopedias. I plan the topics they look up around something they are already covering in the classroom (if possible).

First, they used a dictionary to look up words about Jimmy Carter, such as submarine, peanut, and governor (they are currently studying Carter). They were instructed to copy down one definition for their word.  They had practiced alphabetical order and guide words the week before but it was a bit of struggle for most to actually find their word.  Their teacher and I provided lots of support in this part of the activity.

I saw a couple of students all excited after the structured activity was over. It is so heartening see students get enthused over library skill lessons, however, my heart was destined to be dashed just a bit.  These students had continued to browse the dictionary and were gleefully pointing out that the word “zombie” was in the dictionary! But hey, they found out there are interesting things to be found in dictionaries!

World Book Online Encyclopedia

The next week I showed these second grade students a print version of an encyclopedia and we compare the amount of information found in a dictionary with that found in an encyclopedia article.  Then I have them use an online encyclopedia, World Book (the Kids section), to look up facts about one of three historical figures: Jimmy Carter, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Jackie Robinson.  These three individuals are part of the Georgia Standards of Excellence: Social Studies. Some of the children were so into this activity that they didn’t want to stop with just one fact.  The students really liked the very large photograph at the top of the World Book Kids entry for each historical figure. They were also making connections with what they were reading in the encyclopedia to what they had learned in the classroom.

 

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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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