Newsletter in Action: Vocabulary Strategies

By Monica Burns 01.27.2014 blog

The newsletter is a powerful tool for teachers that Channel One sends out daily. You’ll find an overview of today’s news headlines, classroom discussion prompts, quiz questions and more. In this first installment of our Newsletter in Action series, we’ll explore some ways that you can incorporate the vocabulary words included in each newsletter into your classroom instruction. These introductory activities will help students make meaning of words they’ll hear in the news and expand their vocabulary at the same time. You’ll realize right away that some of these strategies work better with certain words, so switch it up, build in different routines and start incorporating each day’s vocabulary words into your classroom conversations.

Act it out

Share the definition and word in context with your students. Try having them act out an adjective at their seat or stand up to show the meaning of a verb. Students can do a quick warm up with a partner or group and choose which one of them did the best job of acting out the word. This quick activity is a great way to help students remember the meaning of the new vocabulary word.Screen Shot 2014-01-26 at 3.21.45 PM

Use it in class

Whether you are talking about a related news topic or discussing a totally different concept, encourage and praise students to use these words of the day in class.  Set an example by asking your students to catch you in the act of using a new word. After introducing the words at the beginning of a lesson push students to use them when speaking in class that very day. These words can even be posted on a wall in your classroom for quick reference and changed at the end of each week.

Pick apart the sentence

Present the sentence that comes with each word in the newsletter to your students. Examine the sentence as a class to pick out any other words that might be confusing or unclear to help them make meaning of the new vocabulary word of the day.

Choose the part of speech

Screen Shot 2014-01-26 at 3.22.07 PMReveal a new word to the class by showing it used in the sentence provided in the newsletter. Without the definition or any more information ask them to figure out the part of speech of the word. Students should be able to support their thinking using examples, substituting similar words or simply activating their prior knowledge.

List synonyms

After introducing new words to students have them make a list or shout out words that have the same meaning. If this is tough or you run out of synonyms, ask them to think of words with the opposite meaning.

Scavenger hunt

Encourage students to find these words outside of the classroom. Ask them to bring in a newspaper article that uses a new vocabulary word or write down a time when they heard it on a television show or conversation. This is a great way to put students on alert as they read informational text or listen to the day’s news programs.

Have you tried any of these strategies or do you have a favorite vocabulary routine to share? Comment below!

Monica Burns is an Education Consultant, EdTech Blogger, and Apple Distinguished Educator. Visit her site for more ideas on how to become a tech-savvy teacher.

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