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KIndergarten teacher

Thanks for sharing your

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Thanks for sharing your ideas. There are many children that come to my school with poor language skills. It is important to provide them with a language and literacy enriched classroom. I like to use the think-aloud technique as well to show students how I mentally investigate words. Reading and writing conferences are a good why to access student's needs and to help them at their level. Although, sometimes it can be difficult to fit the time in to conference with them. I will definitely use your idea of increasing student word power in my morning messages.

Third Grade teacher

I totally agree. Planting the

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I totally agree. Planting the seeds of vocabulary at a young age will help to develop a rich vocabulary later. It also helps children to develop a curiousity about word meanings. I spoke to both of my own children using rich vocabulary words from a young age and now that they are both in high school, they continue to use rich vocabulary in their writing and speaking.

Possessing a wide array of

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Possessing a wide array of vocabulary is of paramount importance to the development of every child and even more vital for English Language Learners. I have been employing the same methods that you describe and I have seen the improvement among my own students.

Elementary Teacher

I like your approach on

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I like your approach on introducing vocabulary. Children need good communication at home. Sadly in today's world parents are often to busy to spend quality time with their children to provide natural conversation. Most of the time students build their vocabulary through read alouds and collaborative work at school. Your blog gave me insight on being more aware of how I communicate with my students.

Special Education Teacher from Aiken, South Carolina

This makes total sense! I

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This makes total sense! I get a lot of students in the elementary school where they are labled as having Developmental Delays. They come to school not knowing anything! Once they are totally exposed to language they really improve so much. It is unfortunate that a lot of students do not ever catch up because so much time has been wasted! I have made it a point to read, have conversations, and expose my own children to many things so they will be ahead of a lot of children when they get to school.

Special Education Teacher (Grades K-3) from Olympia, WA

Lots to think about....

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Thanks for writing this. You gave me a lot to think about. I often feel frustrated trying to use words that my younger students with cognitive or learning disabilities can understand. I realized, however, that by doing this, I'm not doing them any favors. It's one thing put words into kid-friendly language when you're introducing a new skill, but entirely another if you're talking "to" kids in that language all of the time.

I liked your clarification of talking "with" kids vs. talking "to" kids. I think I could have entirely more engaging conversations with my students -- even the ones with cognitive impairments.

As a mother I am continually

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As a mother I am continually trying to find ways which I can teach my daughter new words. Though she is only 10 months old, I do not speak to her using “baby talk” and use the correct words when describing things (for example: banana instead of nana). Remarkably, she already says “all done” when she is finished at meal time, and “mama up” when she is ready to get out of her car seat. I try to make every moment a “teachable moment” for her, and therefore I am always talking. Most of the time I feel a little crazy because I am telling an infant about things like paying bills and the weather, but I know it will pay off in the end. Why not tell our children about these things? What harm could it really do? I know that my daughter will learn many more words because of my constant talking. I even count and describe everything that goes into the shopping cart at the grocery store!

On a professional level I agree with you whole-heartedly. Frequently I walk down the hallway and hear teachers talking “to” their students and not “with” them. I have even had a student come to me and tell me that her teacher made her feel like “an idiot” on a regular basis because of how she talked to her. The student felt like her teacher did not think they would understand higher quality vocabulary words, and typically would not use descriptive words when discussing assignments. I truly feel for students who have experiences like this. Teachers should always try to raise the bar for expectations in the classroom, not lower them. By talking down to your students you are demeaning them and showing them you don’t have the belief that they can have high achievement levels. That is an extremely sad outcome from a situation that could have been completely different with the simple use of colorful and articulate language.

I really enjoyed reading your

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I really enjoyed reading your post. Vocabulary has been a topic of many discussions among my 1st grade team. I've started using poetry as a way of teaching vocabulary and I can really see a difference already with my students!

Second Grade Teacher from Virginia

I am a second grade teacher

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I am a second grade teacher and a parent of a second grader. I teach in an urban school setting where most of my students come from low income families. Most of their vocabulary instruction comes from school because the majority of my students have little conversation once they leave school. This is for two reasons: no one is home for them to talk too or they are playing video games all evening. I require my students to speak in complete sentences and use correct grammar. Also, I encourage them to use vocabulary words (which I have a vocabulary wall for-this is separate from the word wall) they have been taught to help enrich their speaking and writing. A lot of my students have trouble having a conversation with me or their peers due to the lack of communication at home. Whenever a child uses a word from the vocabulary wall in their writing or in conversation the correct way they are rewarded with a ticket which they can redeem on Friday each week for computer time or playing games.
I have found this to be very encouraging and a lot of parents comment that their children use words they have never heard them use or heard of themselves.

Third grade English reading teacher from Palm Beach County, Florida

Testing

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I agree with you and the testing situation. I also run into that problem when my third grade students take our state reading test or diagnosticss it never fails the area of greatest need is alway vocabulary. I'm sorry to say that I have not found a happy balance, but one thing I use as a bellringer is World Ladders to increase vocabulary.

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