Saturday, January 25, 2014

Sparking Student Motivation on a Snowy Saturday

Happy Saturday, friends!

I hope somewhere there is warm weather - here it's been snowing all day! So on this snowy Saturday, I'm linking up with Joanne from Head Over Heels for Teaching.

Lately, I've been feeling like I'm finally in the swing of things. No t that I wasn't confident in my teaching before this, but I just have that feeling where our class is in a routine. I feel more confident, and I feel like our lessons are moving more smoothly. So now, my goal has been to revamp our literacy block a bit to allow for more engaging activities. Our school is so fortunate to have two and a half hours at the end of the day dedicated to reading instruction. So while I've been using them to the best of my ability, I'm ready to kick things up a notch. 

One of the things I've been working on is my FOCUS board for ELA.
Oops! Just ignore the ants, I forgot I left my suffixes poster up from last week! 

Each week we focus on grammar, vocabulary, comprehension, spelling, and writing skills. While we cover most of these during our literacy center time on Thursdays and Fridays, I have been trying to update them with larger posters to which students can refer. This week, I'm making resources for main ideas, irregular verbs, spelling, multiple-meaning words, and persuasive writing. I'm hoping this will be a useful reference to motivate students to stay on track of their learning for language arts. 

In one of my recent posts, I talked about how I've been incorporating more work with vocabulary by using these vocabulary lanyards each day.  Check out that post here

Well, I've come up with something else for my students to try this week! I present to you, Vocabustrations!

Remember the game "telephone," where you start with one word (for example, banana), whisper it in someone's ear, and after it goes around the room, it's a completely different word (like zebra)? Well, the concept is pretty much the same here. It's based off the game, Telestrations, which you can see an example below.

For Vocabustrations, students will be divided into groups of 4 - 5 players. Each student will choose a vocabulary word and write their word on the "Secret Word" page. 

Then, the timer gets turned and the same student draws their word. They have 60 seconds to sketch their vocabulary word. Once the timer goes off, that player turns to page two, and they pass the book to the player on their left. 
Then, each player takes a few seconds to guess in words what they see, and passes their book again to the player on their left. The timer is turned again for 60 seconds, and everyone draws what they see. 
This play continues until everyone's sketch book has been passed by every player, and returns back to its original owner, where it's time for the BIG REVEAL to see what happened to each secret word. Depending on how many vocabulary words you have, the degree of difficulty of this game may vary. 
I think my kiddos are going to have fun and be more motivated to practice their vocabulary this week!

You can download your copy of Vocabustrations to try in your classroom here for free!

Thanks for stopping by! I'd love to hear how you motivate your students in to practice and expand their vocabulary.

Have a warm weekend!


  1. Such FUN vocabulary activities Stephanie! I love the lanyards-super cute! I love words and try to make learning new vocabulary as fun as possible! This is great! Thanks for sharing and linking up! Stay warm!
    Head Over Heels For Teaching

  2. Great vocab activities! I love how you're trying to make it so fun. I can see how kids will love using the sketch book. I appreciate you sharing! Can't wait to see more! :)
    Mrs. Bentin's Blackboard