Sunday, March 18, 2012


Do you ever feel like you are being taken over by anchor charts? I love making them and displaying them but we are limited in our school with wall space. I spent a lot of time this past summer looking up effective ways to use my walls and I came across something on Pinterest that seemed brilliant to me when teaching about synonyms. It has really helped boost my students vocabulary and writing abilities.
I pinned a McDonald's display after I did my own, seen here. Since my display has been up all year I'll stick with it but I do love the creativity of the McDonald's fry holders.

So basically how it works is that the words on the outside are words that appear often in primary and elementary writer's workshop. Boring. I have drawn headstones before with these words but it's hard for students to call upon their own internal word bank, especially my ESoL students. So instead of expecting them to internalize both meaning and spelling I used these pockets to help them.

The words on the outside are basic. Each pocket has at least four alternative words that students may want to use. Many students grab a word and take it back to their seat to copy during writer's workshop. These are jewelry and accessory organizers. One of them came from Wal-Mart and one came from Old Navy. I have had them around for a while but didn't know what I would use them for.

As you can see these are all synonyms for fast. One thing I like better about my way vs. the McDonald's fry way is that mine are color coded. All the synonyms for fast are green. This makes it simple for students to put them back in the correct place. That is a must for students that may come along later during the workshop time. It's also easy for them to recognize if someone put the word into the wrong slot.

Words like small and big have more synonyms in their pocket. Those words are used quite a bit in 2nd grade so we have focused a lot on trying to utilize some of these better words.

With common core coming our district is very nervous about vocabulary. It's been kind of absent in our district since we adopted balanced literacy. I'd love any feedback on ways that you teach vocabulary.

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