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Building Vocabulary One Purple Word at a Time

Leigh Anne Eck shares one way to uplift word choice of middle school writers. Through a simple and responsive system, her students are growing their vocabulary, learning parts of speech, and taking risks with more sophisticated word choice. All you need is a purple highlighter and a willingness to celebrate student voices.

Let’s Do It Again, Together

Heather Fisher revisits a whole-school vocabulary routine that she set in motion. In this update, she shares the ways she adjusted to work together as a team rather than fly solo. This might be just the school-wide vocabulary routine you’ve been craving.

Weaving Words Throughout the School Year

Joanne Emery rounds up several ideas for embedding vocabulary routines in the school day. She also shares many rich vocabulary resources.

 Partnering Phonics and Poetry

Jen Court gets creative with using materials for more than one skill to layer in additional phonics instruction and practice. Jen provides a guide to think critically about reusing resources throughout the day and across content areas. Download the Planning Tool for Phonics Lessons.

Eight Phonemic Awareness Activities for Morning Meeting

Lisa Mazinas suggests eight short phonemic awareness games that are quick and engaging word work opportunities.

Be the Teacher

Tammy Mulligan turns to her students for advice on how to make phonics lessons “sticky.” The Be the Teacher Center was created and has become a staple in her primary classroom.

Playing with Words

Heather Fisher considers the possibilities for extending vocabulary development through a daily word routine.

Fun with Sight Words

Heather Fisher describes the process of integrating sight word work into the existing curriculum.

Using Shared Writing to Nudge Students Toward Conventional Spelling

Mandy Robek shares the tools she uses to transition students to more conventional spelling.

Kindergarten: Sight Word Learning

Hayley Whitaker’s kindergartners spend their transition time learning sight words.

Quick and Easy Word Study Groups in First Grade

Bitsy Parks shares some of her favorite strategies for quick and meaningful word work groups in her first-grade classroom.

Grammar Games

Melanie Meehan shares two of her favorite games for teaching grammar, including templates and web resources.

The Importance of Correct Examples

Melanie Meehan explains why it is important to mentor students who are struggling with correct examples, and why she cautions writing teachers to avoid “find the mistakes” exercises.

Word Walls in Preschool? Yes, You Can!

A word wall in preschool?! Shari Frost helps a teacher meet this impossible edict, and has a lot of fun in the process thinking about how our youngest learners acquire word knowledge.

Quick Vocabulary Practice and Assessment

Gretchen Schroeder finds that any vocabulary routine eventually gets stale in her high school classroom. She shares a couple of favorite options for reinvigorating word learning.

Sentence Phrase Word: Student Independence for Word Learning

Andrea Smith uses the sentence-phrase-word thinking routine with her fourth graders to show how potent one word can be in understanding complex themes.

Student-Generated Vocabulary Discussions

Tara Barnett and Kate Mills find the key to middle school students attending to new vocabulary during read-alouds is to have students choose the words.

Toward More Meaningful Extension Activities

Shari Frost challenges assignments in reading workshop that kill a love of wordplay and vocabulary development.

Getting to Know Writers: Using Quotes

Dana Murphy concludes her series on getting to know writers with an activity on responding to quotes. This activity is a great baseline for gauging attitudes and previous  experiences early in the year.

Alternatives to Daily Editing as a “Bell-Ringer” Activity

The “daily edit” is a common routine in many classrooms. Shari Frost explains why this may not be an effective way to teach conventions, and offers some alternatives.

Character Traits Through Word Sorts

Melanie Swider finds word sorts are a great way to help intermediate students master new vocabulary for describing character traits.

Building Word Learning Routines

Cathy Mere shares tried-and-true strategies for word learning with struggling young learners.

Vocabulary Instruction: Where to Start?

Gretchen Schroeder looks for new ways to help high school students learn words.

Holding a Dictionary

Jennifer Schwanke finds dictionaries (the real, not virtual, variety) are still a potent tool for teaching new vocabulary to children.

Tutoring Carl: Sketching to Draft

Max Brand challenges himself to let a student take more of the lead during a writing tutoring session.

Raising the Quality of Word Work

Shari Frost has some practical suggestions for more thoughtful word work.

The Power of Written Blind Word Sorts

Max Brand uses written blind word sorts to build student word learning skills.

Going Public with Word Work

Maria Caplin is discouraged at the low level of transfer of new vocabulary in her fifth graders’ writing, so she makes some changes in her classroom.

English Language Learners First-Grade Guided Group

Stella Villalba leads a guided reading group of first-grade English language learners, beginning with building vocabulary.

Character Traits and Vocabulary Development

Gigi McAllister shares how she combines vocabulary instruction with analysis of character traits in her fourth-grade classroom.

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