86.  I teach kindergarten in North L.R. I am redoing my Ocean unit to teach ESL students as my project. I plan to make a large poster that is moveable to use all year for my self-esteem words (I will put the words on paper fish and then later I will let the students take the fish off as they "become" these words). As I started to get some books together to teach self-esteem words, I went through the book, Rainbow Fish. I thought I could read it to the class after teaching the vocabulary words and then get some self esteem words from the book to put in my ocean. Well, I have already accumulated 45 vocabulary words and 10 self-esteem words. Surely, I am not doing this correctly. By the end of the year, I would not have enough space on my ocean to put all the self-esteem words, nor enough wall space to put up all the vocabulary words.

My question is: Are all the vocabulary words to be nouns, so I can use pictures beside them? The words that can be gestured, such as, action words-- should they also be on the vocabulary list that is sorted and put on the wall?? Please explain how I choose these vocabulary words.

Your idea for the self-esteem words is excellent!! You can have "FISH self-esteem WORDS" that you define through positive actions for the students. For example, you can show the FISH WORD "responsible," and define 2 or 3 POSITIVE ACTIONS that students can perform in your class to "show" or "demonstrate" or "become" responsible students. Throughout the academic year, other positive actions can be added to the definition.

Now, remember that there are 3,000 POSITIVE self-esteem words. Teaching one word per day, for an entire academic year of 180 days/year, for the entire educational life of a student (13 years) WOULD NOT cover ALL 3,000 words!!!! So, do not just settle for 10. AIM for 180 positive self-esteem words/academic year!!!! So, you will need 180 fish words. You can have 10 or 20 up on the wall at a time. Then you can take some words off the wall, add others, bring back some for review, or keep ALL the words in a FISH TANK so students can be reminded often of the meaning of these words as they perform positive actions and "become" what the words mean.

Remember the number 70: It takes 70 meaningful exposures to a word for this word to be embedded forever in the long-term memory within our brains, never to be forgotten!!!!! Think of your ocean wall as a constantly changing wall where different fish appear at different times.

Now, for the 45 vocabulary words in the Rainbow Fish story: You have identified the words that, probably, your students may not know. I am NOT surprised you identified 45 words. In some "simple" stories it may be a lot more than that!!!!! Your next step is to group together the words by broad meaning categories. For example, parts of a fish, colors, movements, weather, temperature, etc. You may find one or two of these words per category. In the NEXT story, there will be MORE words in the same categories, so plan for the long term. Thus you can connect the words in this lesson to the words in the next lesson, and the next, etc.

To answer your specific questions: YOU ARE ON THE RIGHT TRACK. What you have done, the analysis of the vocabulary in the story you will use to introduce the study of the OCEAN, is the CORRECT FIRST step in planning each lesson. Also, you can keep words up on the wall organized into meaningful categories, and, eventually take them down, write them on charts by meaning categories, and hang the charts from a plain hanger (with clothes pins) and keep these hangers with charts on a clothes rack. Bring back the charts as new words in the same categories are introduced in other stories.

For nouns that represent concrete objects: YES!!! You can have pictures next to the words. In fact, your "word" wall could be a "picture" wall before your Kindergarten students begin to "read" the real words.

For "action" words (or verbs that can be "gestured"): YES!!! You could find pictures of people doing the action, and put up the pictures and the words. By the way, students could draw pictures representing ALL words, concrete nouns and actions (verbs).

You can BEGIN by choosing ALL 45 vocabulary words and 10 self-esteem words in the Rainbow Fish story. Organize these words (or pictures of these words) by MEANING categories. Work with these words and, when you introduce another NEW story, do the same type of vocabulary analysis. You will find some new words for categories you already identified. You will find some new words in different categories than the ones you already identified. Take down some of the words on your wall, add new words to the identified categories, and introduce the new categories and new words in these categories. Your wall should be constantly FULL of words, some NEW words in NEW categories, some NEW words in previously identified categories. Keep the "old" words handy in charts. Bring the charts up to the students’ attention when new words from the same "old" categories are introduced.

By constantly focusing on words, you have insured your students will have at least 70 exposures to each word. The vocabulary words (or pictures) you introduce through posted meaningful categories will be stored in the long-term memory in the students’ brains, FOREVER!!!!.

 


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