Seriously, though... have you read Jamie Lee Curtis & Laura Cornell's books? I'm obsessed with them. This one, though... This one might just be my favorite. Big Words for Little People is wonderfully illustrated while introducing some major vocabulary to my little friends. Every time I read it, they hang on every word... trying to discern meaning. Not sure if you can tell from the picture, but this is definitely a proven favorite as the corners of the book jacket are starting to crinkle and tear.
Can I tell you a secret?
This particular copy is coveted because it is SIGNED and PERSONALLY ILLUSTRATED by Laura Cornell! Be still, my teacher heart! <3 p="">3>
But what is the key to making this strategy work? I've heard of Code Words before. I know that I didn't invent the strategy, but I've tried it many ways before, to no avail. In the past, I've heard of using terms associated with they very holidays and special occasions that occupy so much of these big, giant brains... Well, I tried it. The kids listened for their Code Words... transitioned... and then promptly yammered on about Trick or Treating and Christmas gifts and more. No bueno.
Next, I tried another tip I had received... using goofy words that would catch the ear... I tried it... it kind of worked. For me, it worked much better than the holiday terms. But in a school that has placed such heavy emphasis on developing and strengthening phonemic awareness, many of my students began working to find words that rhymed with the goofy words... or break them into their parts and mix them with other words to create new words -- all instead of just... getting. that. math. done.
So, here I was, working on a way to better incorporate my Vocabulary instruction. And VOILA! Why not use a new Vocabulary Word as our daily Code Word?! I introduce the word during Morning Meeting. Sometimes I include it in our Morning Message. Sometimes, I just share the Code Word with them. We define the word, add it to our personal word lists, and challenge ourselves to use it throughout the day.
This word is hung at the base of our easel where it remains visible all day long. We compete to use the each word more than the word from the previous day. We are seeking the word in our reading and trying with all of our might to use it in our own writing. My students are hanging on my every word. They are hungry, STARVING, really... to learn more. Today, they asked me to change the Code Word after lunch!
It is such a simple thing that keeps my students more attentive throughout the day, while providing them with additional interactions with language in a new way.
CLICK HERE to print a copy of the Code Word page as well as a list of 50 Vocabulary Words to get you started!