Friday, June 26, 2015

Creating a Classroom Glossary - A Freebie Friday Post

Hey, y'all -- Sarah Plum here! I am thrilled to be writing my first post on iTeach Second, and even more excited to tell you a little about myself. I blog over at There's No Place Like Second Grade, though I'm admittedly a little more active over on my Facebook page and my favorite social network, Instagram where you'll see lots of pictures from my daily life and my journey as a teacher.

I live in Virginia with my husband (also a teacher) and our two sweet boys. My oldest, William, is entering first grade this year and loves Mo Willems books. My youngest, Henry, just turned two and is obsessed with pestering his older brother! He'll occasionally let up and play with his Octonaut toys, but he'd much rather be following William around! As a family we love to explore Washington, D.C. (we're super blessed to live close) and spending time walking in downtown Fredericksburg or at the Rappahanock River.

I've taught second grade for three years and I adore it. I love the content, the kids' ages, and the transition from learning to read to reading to learn. But what I love even more are the kiddos I work with! I am so blessed to teach in a Title I school with a very high English Language Learner (ELL) population. Being a teacher of ELLs is the greatest gift, and something that has helped me grow tremendously as a professional. My kiddos this past school year meant so much to me that I decided to loop with them to third grade -- but don't worry, I'm going to keep blogging here at iTeach Second, because that's where my heart is!

Today I'm sharing with you an ELL-friendly back-to-school activity -- "Our Classroom Glossary" -- that is designed to build community while also introducing or refreshing student's understanding of a tried-and-true vocabulary graphic organizer: the four-square or Frayer model. I use this graphic organizer -- in one form or another -- for each and every vocabulary word my ELL students learn during the course of the year.

I find that having a consistent graphic organizer allows students to feel comfortable in exploring new words on their own, and also allows us to focus on breaking down a word rather than on explaining how to use a new graphic organizer at each learning opportunity. The four-square Frayer model is a very student-friendly graphic organizer at any grade-level, and can be tweaked slightly depending on the content area (for math, for example, I often replace the "sentence" box with an additional example or related words box).

To create your own classroom glossary, you'll introduce or refresh the four-square graphic organizer, and then have students write their names in the middle. They are the vocabulary word, which is a neat twist on your usual getting-to-know you activities. Students can then write adjectives that describe themselves, use their name in a personal-narrative sentence, draw a picture of themselves, and describe their families (where "related words" would go -- get it?!). If students are unfamiliar with the four-square Frayer model, then you can use this version for some differentiated support:

Once each student has completed their four-square, you can print the cover, fill out the table of contents, put students' papers in alphabetical order and BAM! Instant glossary and student-created book for your classroom library! Students will love being able to read about and get to know one another in such a unique format.

Go grab your own classroom glossary for FREE on TpT! Thanks for spending some time today getting to know me, and checking out my freebie. I look forward to sharing much more here on iTeach Second!

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