Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Vocabulary Foldables

 Happy Holidays, everyone!  We continue to have a very Merry Christmas in the Madison household (since we're Catholic, Christmas lasts 12 days!), and I finally have time to post a few fun things we've been working on the last few months.  Why not start off the new year with some fun foldables?  They are easily adaptable for any subject and really help with vocabulary development.  You can make a fun bulletin with them like this:

That way, not only your students, but students passing by your room will increase their vocabulary as well!  I even had a few adults tell me they didn't know some of the vocabulary words that our students were using.  This particular set of vocabulary foldables is for our Oregon Trail/Westward Migration unit.

 Here is the basic breakdown of these foldables:  fold a sheet of paper in half.  That's it! :)  There are a lot of different types of foldables, and I'll post some more complex ones later, but this is just as easy as it gets.  Still, just working on different kind of paper than they're used to and folding it is enough of a nuance for students to make it exciting.  It also makes for a couple good games when they're done.
On the front, each student writes one word (I wanted to do a game with these and hang them in the hallway for others to learn from, so I made them all choose different vocabulary words from the unit, particularly, from a non-fiction read aloud that we did from an Oregon Trial book).  Then they do a picture that symbolizes the meaning of that word.  In the example below, you'll see the word "Scurvy"along with an adorable picture of a pioneer who has softening gums, bleeding skin, and teeth coming out of his skull.  No one said foldables have to be sweet, and the boys in the class particularly enjoy the more gruesome vocabulary words!
 On the inside of the folded paper, your students will write the word again, along with the dictionary definition of the word.  This is yet another time that we practice dictionary skills, and the students already have a basic understanding of their new word from the non-fiction text that we read aloud from.  If you are giving the words to your students "cold," you will probably need to help some of them decipher what the dictionary definition actually means.  Last, they write a complete sentence using the new vocabulary word.  I just love the sentence this student created- "I'm sorry, your brother has scurvy."  I had my students take a few minutes to color their foldable and trace the pencil in colored pencil after I checked them over since we were "publishing" them in the hall.
 Now the fun begins.  One game that I play with these is Musical Vocab Partner.  Each student walks around with their foldable up against their own chest.  I play music, and when the music stops, each student rushes to find a partner.  They read their partner's word aloud and try to guess at the meaning of the word based upon the picture they see on the front of their partner's foldable.  Then their partner tells them how well they did.  I usually use sentence frames like:

I think your word _______ means ____________ because your picture shows ________________.
I predict that your word ________ means _________ because your picture depicts ___________.

You are correct/close, my word ______ means ___________.
The definition of my word, _______, is _______________, which means your prediction was correct/close.

With any leftover time, they read their partner's foldable aloud and then their partner reads their foldable aloud, practicing for fluency and cementing the new word in place.  I start the music again, and they learn a new word.
 If I already have the bulletin board up, I usually make it a morning activity (one of the first tasks that they need to accomplish after getting their things settled before we start instruction) to go out and take a look at the bulletin.  Sometimes, I'll have them write down what they think was the trickiest word on a piece of scratch paper, along with its definition and sentence and then turn it in.  I might have them use the above sentence stems to just write about one of the words they see on the bulletin, and then check their own understanding by lifting the foldable flap.  When we have our little first grade buddies over, I have each student explain their word and show their buddy their foldable (they are often given as a buddy 'gift' as well).  Sometimes we send our foldables to our pen pals, which gives the students another reason to make them look great and gives the writing more purpose. 
What foldables have you used?  Do you have any fun games or activities that you use them with?  What other vocabulary development activities do you do?  Comment, share, repost, and have a fabulous 2013!

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