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Work on Words Wednesday - Interesting Words!

I teach with the door open... really.  {Just ask my teaching buddy, Casey!}  One question I get all the time - "How come you always get the class with the great vocabulary?"  Here's the secret not so secret answer:  Use interesting words.
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Simple, right?  In theory, it is quite simple.  In practice, it takes a bit of planning and forethought to use interesting words as you teach.  I had an amazing "Light-bulb Moment" 6 or 7 years ago when I had the pleasure of attending a seminar by Dr. Rick DuVall.  (If you ever get the chance, I highly recommend his seminars!)  One point he made was that you can't just walk in and start using a huge vocabulary with second graders - you ease them into it by adding in a few words or phrases at a time.

For example, at the beginning of the year, you would say, "Please line up for the water fountain."  Later you might say, "Create a linear formation for a water break."  Instead of answering a request to eat lunch outside with the statement, "Ok," you might answer, "I acquiesce." {accept without protest}

An easy way to create interest in Interesting Words in their writing is to ban the plain color words.  "The sky is blue," is not very interesting... "The sky is as blue as an inky sea," is much easier to visualize.  I always did this using paint chips.  You know, those paint sample squares you see at the local home improvement store.
Paint companies pay a great deal of money on the research for those color names - grab a few, punch a hole in the corner, and put it on a ring.  Viola!  Instant reference for interesting color words.  Want to do this in a paperless way?  Vista Paint has their color chip palette as an interactive page.  Click a square to see a large square of color and the name.

Disclaimer: I'm not advocating you stealing a ton of paint sample chips from your local Home Depot... just sayin'.  I always asked first if they minded me picking out some samples to use in my classroom, and they would acquiesce every time.  :)


  1. HAHAHA--- I LOVE this post!! My kiddos (and evidently me) need some help in the vocabulary area!! I think I'll start with some new and interesting color words! Thanks for the fabulous ideas!

    That's So Second Grade!

  2. A couple of years ago, I realized that table/group names could be an opportunity to introduce new words. I used to have The Lions, The Cheetahs, or Table 1, etc. Boring. I liked using colors, but decided to use color words that aren't used by first/second graders very often. Then I thought about adding an adjective to each one. That turned into an alliteration. The final product: Astounding Ambers, Excellent Emeralds, Remarkable Royal Blues, Magnificent Magentas, and Lovely Lavenders.

    Thank you for your ideas!

  3. wonderful idea! Love the vista paint site. thank you


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