Thursday, August 30, 2012

Building Vocabulary with Vocabulary Workshop

For years our children have benefited from using Vocabulary Workshop published by Sadlier-Oxford. The paperback workbooks teach new words through definitions, antonyms, synonyms, word associations, and reading comprehension exercises. Repetition allows students to achieve success and higher retention.

Vocabulary Workshop Color Levels
Students, elementary through high school, needing additional practice can access additional online review activities for every level workbook. Auditory recordings of the word pronunciations and definitions are available. These online exercises are especially helpful for students who need auditory input for optimal retention. 

Online link 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Learning and Paper Trails

Learning is often measured in paper. Thirty-problem speed drills. Handwriting practice sheets. Standardized tests. Lab reports. In and of themselves, these items aren't terrible. They have their place. However, valuable learning also takes place when there is no visible, tangible trace.

We have had one of those weeks, weeks where most learning will not be measured in paper. Stellar, life-impacting learning occurred, but we didn't have sheets and sheets of paper to prove our efforts. During the course of the week, we had the opportunity to:

  • learn number recognition while playing BINGO with Great-grandma
  • counted and rolled coins (collected in the family change jar)
  • played Pizza Fraction Fun 
  • weighed produce with a kitchen scale
  • made figures with tangrams
  • wrote letters on the driveway with sidewalk chalk
  • retold a story we heard someone else tell and then discussed how point of view and experiences determine potential bias
  • read a recipe, followed directions, and measured ingredients
  • listened to Jim Weiss stories on CD
    Gone West
  • spelled three- and four-letter short vowel words on a white board
  • listened to The Tale of Two Cities and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (books on tape)
  • reviewed state abbreviations while driving to Grandma's house
  • assembled a floor puzzle of the United States
  • listened to mom read Meet the Pilgrim Fathers by Elizabeth Payne
  • learned body systems and their functions while listening to Lyrical life Science: Human Body
  • listened to the Biology audio text while creating pencil drawings
  • discussed the nutritional content of three types of cereal
  • cared for the neighbor's dogs
Children were engaged. Learning occurred. No paper trace for these activities. The evidence resided in the minds of the young learners. How did we document our learning? We kept a resource list and took pictures of the white board, tangram creations, and completed puzzle. The will have to ask the children. I am sure they would be more than willing to share their adventures!