word wizards

Yesterday flew by in a rush, and I never got to story time.  So today we read On Monday When It Rained, and I put three words on our new Word Wizard poster:

  • disappointed
  • excited
  • lonely

First, though I did a vocabulary pretest.  I gave the children trays to use as lapboards, and papers numbered 1-6.  By each number there was a happy sun picture, and a sad cloud picture.  I said, “If this sentence makes sense, circle the sun.  If it doesn’t make sense, circle the cloud.”  Then I said six sentences, like “When my mom said we were going to the cool new playground, I was excited.”

The whole thing was crazy.  I felt like the assessment itself wasn’t very developmentally appropriate.  These guys are FOUR and they’ve never taken tests before.  Understanding if a sentence made sense was hard enough, but figuring out how to fill out the sheet was really hard.  Miss Slinger was trying not to laugh, and I was trying not to cry.

However, I’m still glad I did it.  When we read the book, we talked about what those three words mean, and how we’re going to keep track of every time we hear someone using those words.  We’ve already got four tally marks on the poster (Miss Slinger:  “I’m so disappointed that you are making so much noise in the hallway.  Oh, thank you for being quiet.  I’m so excited that you were doing such a good job listening to me.”)  And at the end of the week, we’ll do the post-test, and I can see if we’ve made any growth.

I need to figure out a good way to measure if children have learned a particular vocabulary word.  Any ideas?

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4 thoughts on “word wizards

  1. I don’t know if this will help you or not…but sometimes when I want to see if a children knows a color or shape I will misuse it (in a very obvious way) so that they have to correct me. They feel really smart when they think I don’t know something and they do!

    For example, a child might be wearing a yellow shirt and I will say to that child, “Wow! I love your green shirt!” They usually look down and then look back at me with a puzzled expression and then correct me. “No, it’s yellow!” Then I might say, “Oh, that’s right – I was wrong – it’s not green, it’s pink!” Then they laugh and correct me again and I know they know the color yellow and to them it was a game.

    Maybe you could do something similar – but just use the word wrong (in a very obvious way – maybe when you’re reading a book or something) and see if they correct you. I don’t know if it would work as well though – just something for you to ponder…

  2. Have the kids show you the feelings you were discussing. “Show me your excited face.” for example. I usually just try and listen in on conversations during centers to hear if they are using the vocab and if it is being used appropriately.

  3. Here is what I have done:

    “I went to the toy store and my mom bought me a Star Wars toy (or whatever might suit their fancy) and I couldn’t wait to get home because I was so…… ” and pause to let them fill in the blank. Then I’ll ask them to show me with their face and/or body. I’ll use the fill in the blank method for different emotions. I’ll do it one on one, in small groups or even in large groups.

    I’ve also done what deepbluetide has done and intentionally used a word wrong (in a glaring way) to see who can catch it.

    Hope that helped. (Even a little.)

  4. Thank you for all the advice! I think that all of those methods might work, especially informally with children I particularly want to target for learning vocabulary.

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