Friday, March 30, 2012

Levels of Word Knowledge and a Small Victory!

Usually, on Fridays, I am totally thinking TGIF just like any other working adult.  This time around, I kinda-sorta don't want the day to end.  I can feel my Spring Break ticking away, and as much as I love my kiddos and my job, I also like a little break every now and then.  {If you can even call this week a break.  I know that you know what I'm talking about!} I was pretty productive over the past few days, and I am hoping that I can slow it down this weekend for a real, legitimate break before heading back to my little peanuts.  :)


Have you ever had an idea hit you like a bolt of lightning?!  I totally did today.  It was something I already did, and I came across my prehistoric poster about the 5 levels of word knowledge.  I made it sometime in my life B.C.A.  (If you missed my last post, this is the time of my life I refer to as Before Clip Art.) Needless to say, I couldn't resist the urge to revamp it.  Then, I couldn't stop.  I thought of ways to expand on it and ways to make it more active without using hand signals like I had been doing.  Of course the idea hit me when I was cleaning up to go do a little "Brazil Butt Lift" workout, which by the way still hasn't happened.  I suppose I should get around to that, huh?  Eeeeek...

Any-who...this lesson (which is part my 193 page Expanding Vocabulary pack)  can be used to help students become cognizant of how familiar they are with a vocabulary word. It is a great formative assessment tool for teachers once the levels are taught and understood by the kiddos. I like to use the five levels when I introduce new vocabulary words to see how well students know them out of the gates!  Of course, I used to have them hold up their fingers, and now we have a fun new prop! I fervently believe that the more strategic students are about their learning and the more aware they are of their own current state of knowledge, the better equipped they are to extend their learning or search for answers. :) This lesson  includes a poster (BW and color), printable Scrabble Tiles to make word level response sticks, printables for a word study book to use with any story or content area reading, and printables to explicitly teach students about the different levels. If you're interested, you can check it out HERE.

By now you're probably wondering what my "small victory" is.   Well, it's totally small, but HUGE to me right now.  I am DONE with one of my grad classes for the semester, and now I only have to focus on ONE until the end of April.  Oh, and it gets better!  I signed up for two summer classes, and it looks like I might actually get in.  I am definitely crossing my fingers and maybe my toes, because I have had so many classes cancelled, and I have had the worst trouble actually getting into classes I need.  I am so ready to wrap this up.  So, as it stands, I have two summer classes, and then I have to take ONE MORE CLASS next fall!  Then it's cap and gown time for me!!! YAY!  {As a side-note, I used to think that I wanted to go straight into getting my doctorate, but let's just say that I'll save that for later.  Someday.  Just not right now.  This little lady needs a nice little sabbatical before I take that on!}

So... yeah. Some of you may be spending time at the beach or NYC or somewhere totally amazing over your break... but this is the life of a grad school student.  So happy to be done with one of my classes early.  I'll spare you the screen shots of my enormous qualitative research paper, because I like you.  I don't even like to look at it.  It's too lengthy.  It kind of makes me cringe.  ;)

Lastly, I want to thank everyone for their kind words regarding my sweet grandma.  :)  It's nice to know that I can open up to all of you and be a real person with a real life outside of teaching.  I usually try to keep this blog strictly classroom-oriented, but you know, we're all human.  It means a lot to me that so many of you left such thoughtful comments.  I appreciate it more than you know.  It was so wonderful to go visit her and to see determined she is to enjoy the time she has left, and I am so inspired.  I could easily wallow around in self-pity when I feel like things are a little on the crummy side (or when I get the urge to remove my adult braces myself), but you know what?  We only get one life, and we only get one shot at it.  Enjoy every. single. moment.  Laugh.  Love.  Dream.  Reach.  Dance in the rain. 

 Hope you have a blessed weekend, teacher friends! :)


  1. Beautiful picture! How blessed you are! Enjoy the rest of your break! Your packet looks great!

    Peace, Love, and First Grade

  2. wow what an intellectual post for someone on vacation! :) Wonderful information and that picture is absolutely priceless. Beautiful.
    Tunstall's Teaching Tidbits

  3. Lots of juicy stuff in this post thanks for sharing. Congratulations on being done with your classes for now! That is such a great feeling. I am so like you and was all pumped to get my doctorate and then I finished my masters and said to myself..."that'll do pig." It was a good choice. Between blogging, and pinterest, wine drinking fun, reality tv, teaching, pink slips...the doctorate can wait. Love the way you ended your post. Made me smile!


  4. Your packet looks great! I love your handwriting on your chart. I am a closet handwriting groupie =)
    Daisy Days for Learning

  5. SO glad you got to spend some time with grandma! She is precious

  6. "We only get one life, and we only get one shot at it. Enjoy every. single. moment. Laugh. Love. Dream. Reach. Dance in the rain.".... SO ESSENTIAL! ❤ it!

    You have been very productive ... I don't miss grad school one little bit!!! :D Love all your hard work, though! You did a wonderful job synthesizing active learning! :D
    Dragonflies in First

  7. You are so talented!!!!!!! It makes me want to teacher upper grades (I consider upper grades anything above 2nd grade).

    That picture is BEAUTIFUL!!!

    I heart you!!!!

  8. Way to go Amanda! I remember when I was getting my masters....big deal girl!

    I also got my email about your vocab pack and it is already in my shopping cart! I can't wait to get that rolling...

    You ROCK!
    Rockin' Teacher Materials

  9. I love the unit! You must tell me where you got the cute notebook graphic.
    Love your talent!
    My Second Sense

  10. You offer so many great ideas on your blog. I am your newest follower.
    3rd Grade Grapevine