An Academic Vocabulary/Following Directions Activity

It’s been awhile since I wrote a teaching post! We do a new vocabulary word every week. While one word may seem pointless, we actually study these words in depth. We are studying the list of critical verbs from this book: Teaching the Critical Vocabulary of the Common Core: 55 Words that Make or Break Student Understanding by Marilee Sprenger. I LOVE this book! The critical verbs are words that commonly show up in instructions on assessments. Words like “evaluate” and “delineate” and “paraphrase”. By studying one at a time and doing activities related to it, the kids learn the words in depth. To keep it interesting, I try to do a different activity with every word. The book has amazing ideas for teaching the words and also great review games.

Last week, our word was “synthesize”. Our activity was to make a book. This is an idea I found in the Sprenger book I linked above. One thing I’ve noticed my students struggling with lately is following directions and being independent. Instead of trying to figure something out on their own, their hands shoot up and they want me to help them. Some don’t even try on their own first! To challenge them, I made a page of instructions. Every time they raised their hand, I would say, “What do the instructions say?” I did not have a single question asked that could not be answered by more careful reading of the instructions. Some of them were so frustrated because they wanted ME to explain it and were mad when I didn’t. This was eye-opening to me–obviously I come to their rescue too often, as that’s often easier than making them work through it.

My instructions are in a Google doc here if you want to make yourself a book: Google Presentation Vocabulary Book.

Here’s a screenshot of one page:

The funny thing was the kids were really doubtful that the book would work until they actually followed the instructions to a T and tried it. They couldn’t wrap their heads around the way it would print out (since you glue them back to back). In the end, I think they enjoyed making these little books. They learned about vocabulary and they learned how to be more independent! I am going to try to remember to snap a picture of one tomorrow to post here.

Are you good at following directions?


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Boston Marathon

Who watched today? I was working, but I did check the results at lunch. I was, of course, elated to see that Meb had won the men’s race. I call him Meb because once we passed each other during a race so we are on a first-name basis now. When I got home, I scoured the internet for videos of the race and found this one of Meb winning:

I devastated to see that Shalane Flanagan did not win. Even though she PR’d today (on a tough course too), it wasn’t enough. As a Boston native, she wanted the win so very badly. Here’s a very short recap of the women’s race.

This video will break your heart:

Another interview:

Check out these TIMES:
Official women’s results/top 10:
1. Rita Jeptoo (KEN) 2:18:57
2. Buzunesh Deba (ETH) 2:19:59
3. Mare Dibaba (ETH) 2:20:35
4. Jemima Jelagat Sumgong 2:20:41
5. Meselech Melkamu (ETH) 2:21:28
6. Aleksandra Duliba (BLR) 2:21:29
7. Shalane Flanagan (USA) 2:22:02
8. Sharon Cheropp (KEN) 2:23:00
9. Philes Ongori (KEN) 2:23:22
10. Desiree Davila Linden (USA) 2:23:54

Official Men’s Results:
1. Meb Keflezighi (San Diego, Calif.) 2:08:37
2. Wilson Chebet (KEN) 2:08:48
3. Frankline Chepwony (KEN) 2:08:50
4. Vitaliy Shafar (UKR) 2:09:37
5. Markos Geneti (ETH) 2:09:50
6. Joel Kimurer (KEN) 2:11:03
7. Nick Arciniaga (Flagstaff, Ariz.) 2:11:47
8. Jeffrey Eggleston (Boulder, Colo.) 2:11:57
9. Paul Lonyangata (KEN) 2:12:34
10. Adil Annani (MAR) 2:12:43

I am so happy to see three Americans in the top 10. I was rooting for both Shalane & Desiree. Admittedly I hadn’t been following the men as closely! How far can you run in 2 hours and 18 minutes (or 2:08 if you’re male)? That’s about what I ran my half marathon in, so they run literally twice as fast as I do! Did you watch Boston today?


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Easter Basket Treasure Hunt

Our Easter bunny is pretty inconsistent (darn him). Some years it’s an all-out egg hunt, some years just a basket, some years a treasure hunt… I think from one year to the next the bunny honestly forgets what was done the year before. The kids definitely prefer a bit of creativity, though. This year, this Easter bunny did a treasure hunt, and it was a darned cute one with a nice message at the end.

Evan read aloud all of the clues. (ignore Evan’s disaster of a bedroom in the background)

The clues were a bit too simple for Evan but challenging enough for Campbell. They both loved it.

The Easter baskets were in the garage this year! (Praise God no rodents found them)

The clues look very suspiciously identical these: Easter Morning Scavenger Hunt Clues. Do you think the Easter bunny uses the internet?

Do you have consistent Easter traditions at your house? Did you growing up? All I remember from growing up is that my basket was hidden.


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