Expanding Vocabulary: Up, Up, and AWAY! {and a giveaway!}

The "E" on the CAFE board stands for Expanding Vocabulary, and I always feel like this is the area where I struggle the most. It's just easier to focus on comprehension and accuracy. Today's strategy was "Tune into Interesting Words," so here's what I did.

I got a balloon.
I said, "My baby girl is almost one year old. She can say three words: Mama, hi and her name. She doesn't have a big vocabulary because she's just learning how to talk. Her vocabulary is like this balloon. Empty."

Then I blew one breath of air into the balloon.
I said, "My son is three years old. He has a bigger vocabulary than the baby. His vocabulary has expanded as he's gotten older."

Then I blew another breath into the balloon.
"This balloon is like you. You have an even larger vocabulary than a three year old. Do you think you can expand it even more?"

I blew another breath into the balloon.
"Raise your hand if you have an older brother or sister. I bet they have an even larger vocabulary than you do. As you get older, your vocabulary grows and grows."

I blew a few more breaths into the balloon so it was all blown up.
"This balloon is like a grown up's vocabulary. Your goal is to expand your vocabulary so that your balloon is blown all the way up like this one, or even bigger, like a hot air balloon! How do you think you can expand your vocabulary?"

By reading books of course! I shared the first few pages of the book Tulip Sees America.
It's a cute book about a man and his dog, Tulip, who travel across the US. I usually use this book during Writer's Workshop to illustrate zooming in on a single idea, but it also has great word choice! As I read the book, I told my students to put two hands on their head when they heard a new and interesting word. Two words we found were homebody and serene. Awesome words, right?

OK, so now it was the kids' turns. During Read to Self, their job was to tune into new and interesting words. I gave each of them 3-4 sticky notes, and they wrote down words that they found. When Read to Self was over, I collected everyone's sticky notes and picked out a few words that I thought the kids would enjoy: levees, siesta, loon, and panoramic. Of course, some of the words I got weren't new or interesting, so I was able to sift those out. In keeping with the balloon theme, I made paper hot air balloons to write the new words we find in our reading. We will add more balloons as the year goes on.
I can't take credit for the balloon analogy at all... My awesome teammate Megan came up with this fab idea and shared it with me. I'm trying to convince her to write some posts for my blog, but she keeps dragging her feet. If you could leave her some words of encouragement in the comments section, that would be great. Because I KNOW YOU'RE READING THIS, MEGAN!! :)



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