Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Vocabulary Views

As a part of our curriculum, each student focuses on one reading homework activity each week called a “TIPS” activity. TIPS stands for “Teachers Involve Parents in Schoolwork” and requires your child to talk with you and share ideas in some sections of the homework. TIPS homework focuses on important reading skills: summarizing, causation, author’s purpose, and inference, and vocabulary.

The TIPS activities will repeat throughout the school year. They will be handed out on Wednesdays and will be due on Tuesday of the next week in grades seven and eight. The assignments will be printed on two sides of one sheet of paper. When students write responses, remind them to write in complete sentences in a logical order and to edit their writing. Please note that TIPS are not the only type of homework your child will receive.

TIPS: Teachers Involve Parents in Schoolwork
As with all homework, TIPS activities are linked to our school objectives. Of course, all homework is the student’s responsibility to complete. With TIPS, you are not asked to teach information to your child, just enjoy the interactions. Each assignment includes a “Home-to- School Communication” section at the end for you to send comments. This information will be used in thinking about future homework activities.

Homework is a vital part of education. Good assignments help students practice skills, share ideas, and take responsibility for their work and learning. Homework also helps you see what your child is studying in school. By completing homework, students have the best chance of keeping up with their work and succeeding in school this year.

One assignment deals with vocabulary. We use this in our class also. Here's our class activity (similar to our vocabulary homework assignment). Our students vocabulary repertoire is not diverse. We've been building fluency through re-readings and note-taking (another blog on that later), but even after re-reading, note-taking, and discussion a Martin Luther King, Jr play several times, two students asked, "What is a protest?" Never think students "get it." Some one or two or more is stuck, lost because their vocabulary and the schema that accompany it are incomplete. Therefore, I developed this vocabulary activity that has really helped my students. The most important part is this one:
Students choose ten interesting words while re-reading the text. I ask for "interesting" words, because I want them to choose good words, whether they know them or not. It sets us up for success at learning words we may not know.

The important directions:
Choose two words. List them inside the triangles. Write two details from your text that relate to each word. Put the details on the lines next to each triangle. On the third line, write a connection you have to each word.

By re-reading the text that contains their chosen vocabulary word, they are finding the context within which the word is used, thereby building their schema and understanding of the word. Every student found appropriate text. Then, through our discussion of the words and their contexts, the students could add a connection: an experience, an opinion, a movie, etc. It has been one of the most powerful lessons I've created. Wowser for us!

This would be easy to re-create just within a discussion or notes during any class. What do you think? Could you use it? How would you adapt it to fit your students and their needs?
Go here, scroll to Vocabulary_2.pdf, to download.


Template Source: TIPS: Teachers Involve Parents in Homework


Writing Weekly Homework Page

TiPS Parent Letter
TIPS Summary Homework
TIPS Causation Homework
TIPS Author Purpose Homework
TIPS Inference Homework
TIPS Vocabulary Homework
TIPS Comprehension Homework

Students in grades five and six may also complete this work; just turn it in for credit each Tuesday!


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