I want to share with you a first draft of a ‘word of the day’-type activity to support vocabulary learning and using the Word Gang to support a love for vocabulary. Below, you will find the draft, but first, allow me to explain the rationale behind it.
Target word: The target word is presented in the middle of the page along its word class e.g. noun, verb, adjective etc.
Phonology: This section breaks the target word up into syllables and, with the help of Emmett, offers a range of ways that the children can use their voices to say the word. Where possible, the ways suggested will link with the target word. For example, for ‘exasperated’, Emmett might suggest saying the word in an irritated voice.
Definition: The definition offered is taken from Collins COBUILD, which aims to put definitions into child-friendly language to allow all leaners to access the meaning of the word quickly.
Synonyms / antonyms: These are included to allow children to build a strong picture of what the target word means and hopefully to link it with words they may already know. What we’re trying to do here is get the target word to ‘hook on’ to children’s pre-existing word knowledge. There will always be a synonym coloured green; this is the most recognisable synonym available. The antonyms are helpful as they show children what the target word does not mean.
Morphology: This is a crucial section for me and one that I want to get right. It aims to show children two important things: that knowing this word paves the way to understanding a host of others (its ‘family’) and to expose them to the full range of affixes and how they modify meaning. My questions relate to whether the use of bold letters/colouring/underline would be of use here.
Sentences/context: This section is important as it allows the children to see the target word in a written context. The sentences are carefully designed to reinforce meaning and not misdirect children to potential incorrect meanings.
Children’s response: The activity finishes with a chance for the children to respond via drawing, writing, or showing (maybe through drama) how they now know what the target word means.
General idea: This activity could be used in many ways, but it is really up to you as to how and when you use it. For me, these are the absolute basics that you should be doing when learning a new word.
Here is the draft. I’m very approachable and responsive to feedback, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have anything – positive or negative – to say. Thank you.
Thank you all for your feedback. There are some ideas I’m still mulling over in terms of offering a supporting sheet with a couple of simple activities on it to check understanding.