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Butterflies and vocabulary


I received a few comments on TPT this week about my units {the buyer stated that the Vocabulary   was inappropriate for Kindergarten kids} and it made me start thinking about how different we all are as teachers.   We have different philosophies about HOW and WHAT children should learn.  Some of us are given teacher manuals and basal programs to teach from {my district doesn't use a reading program} and many of us are given a framework to use to guide us in our instruction.  I believe that learning should be FUN, MEANINGFUL and ENGAGING.  I want my students to be excited to come to school every day.  I want them to be so excited about what they are learning that it is  the topic of dinner conversations.  I've had parents tell me that their entire dinner conversation revolved around regurgitation and how penguins feed their babies (appetizing, huh?) and I've also had a sweet little friend tell me that when he tried to tell his Mom about pangea she had to Google it.  Yes, I teach these vocabulary words to Kindergartners and they know what they mean and they can have a meaningful conversation about them.    I use these big vocabulary words and put the definition in simple, kid friendly terms.  Then, we interact with the word.  Sometimes we act out the word and sometimes we draw it or complete an art project to help us gain a deeper understanding of the word.  We made the butterflies in the above picture after learning about butterflies and SYMMETRY.



The chart above shows  some of the vocabulary words we learned during our butterfly study.

Butterfly writing.  I just love the growth I see in my Kinder kids writing.  They are doing an amazing job with stretching and writing their words.  








Notice the word oviparous in the writing above.  This word is spelled correctly because it is on our insect anchor chart.

Interactive writing for the life cycle of a butterfly.



*** I will be adding a lot of new stuff to my insect unit this week.  If you've already purchased it stay tuned for the updates!  :)

Also,  I'm working on a FROGGY unit that will include some activities based on the books by Jonathon London and some nonfiction frog activities as well.


*clipart by Melonheadzillustrating.blogspot.com


I would love to know your thoughts about teaching higher level vocabulary.   Please comment below and let me know what you think!  





131 comments:

  1. I agree!! Using the big vocabulary creates better brains!! Keep it up! They can file it and use it later. It is all about connections!)

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  2. Love the higher level vocabulary!

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  3. AMEN!!!!!! I COMPLETELY agree with challenging and engaging students. :0) How can something be "inappropriate" if students are learning, understanding and applying it? I believe in setting high goals for my students and it helps them to excel beyond my wildest dreams (and theirs)! You go girl!!! I teach very high level vocabulary daily in kindergarten and I will never go back! :)

    ~Kristine
    www.oursmartcommunity.blogspot.com

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  4. I completely agree with you about how to teach vocabulary. I teach second grade and also think it's really important for kids to be exposed to rich vocabulary. If you teach them what a word means, they can use it. Today in our morning message, I used the word botanists because we're studying plants. I think it's refreshing to see other teachers having high expectations for their kids!

    Please come check out my blog. I'm really just getting started.

    Jenny

    http://happyliteracy.blogspot.com/

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  5. I too love introducing my kiddos to brand new words. We have a WOW (Wonderful, Outstanding Word) each day and they are thrilled to insert those new words into their vocabulary. If anyone uses one of our words in a sentence at any time (even weeks later) they burst into applause! The librarian was extremely confused when she unknowingly used one of our words and got claps and cheers!

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  6. I am with you on the vocabulary. The common core is all about going deeper with learning. Using children's literature and providing richer vocabulary helps build a better foundation of learning. Great topic!

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  7. it's better to teach the big, real words that the same ole little kid words. Believe me, the upper grade teachers thank you!!! I call them "Fancy-Tea-Drinking" words in my room and I make like I'm an old English woman sipping tea when I use a big word!!!

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  8. I totally agree with you Deanna- vocabulary should be challenging and meaningful. I teach first grade and am working on "metacognition" with my kids and they call it just that! They know what it means and can use it in their conversations about reading. We're working on habitats in science and today talked about "conifer and deciduous", last unit we talked about viscous liquids...The kids LOVE learning those words and taking them home- so proud! and parents are impressed with their child's learning as well! It's a WIN WIN all the way! Thank you for using meaningful vocabulary in all you do!!!

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  9. Some students it will stick in their brains and some students it will not...just like everything else. Don't hold back! Give them the goodies and watch them soar!

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  10. I just blogged about vocabulary today, too! I most certainly agree that young students can handle learning highly academic vocabulary. And there are mounds of research to support this claim. It is amazing what kindergarten students can do when you set the expectation high and scaffold the instruction to ensure success. Kuddos to you, Deanna!
    Nicole
    Teaching With Style

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  11. Kids will only learn what is taught to them, higher expectations makes for smarter kids. They can do it if you expect them too! I LOVE the stuff that you create and it makes me realize that we need to push our students!

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  12. I agree with you! I use higher vocabulary with my students. They catch on very quickly to new words and begin using them in their daily language and interactions with family and friends.

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  13. Expanding our vocabulary is HUGE in my class. My sweet firsties love to learn these "big kid" words. I often call them "4th grade words" or something to that effect. I also agree that interacting with the word is a huge part of students fully understanding it's meaning. I love that you teach your kinders these "big" words. If we raise the bar, they WILL reach it! :) I love watching kids learn!

    Thanks for all you do!
    Kelly
    Beg, Borrow, Steal

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  14. I think a wide range of vocabulary is good and beneficial for children.

    "Metamorphosis" was actually the word of the day on Sesame Street today. :)

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  15. I went to a six day Marzano training last year and the entire conference was about vocabulary. Teaching vocabulary is SO imperative, especially higher level vocabulary! We started a school wide "Word of the Day" lesson that was driven from this training. Data shows that teaching children higher level vocabulary has so many benefits and increases comprehension. Good job, Deanna!

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  16. I've had this conversation many times with teachers of other grades. I don't think that just because we teach kindergarten, that we should shelter our children from real vocabulary. Why not teach them these words, so that when they hear them later, they have prior knowledge to connect them to? Brain research tells us that the more children are exposed to ideas/vocabulary, the easier it is for them to store it in their long term memory because they have the basis there to make connections. Keep putting in those big vocabulary words!! I think you do a great job!
    Vickie
    Mrs. Plant's Press

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  17. We have to give a test in K 3 times a year and the vocabulary on the test is very hard. I agree with you that vocabulary should be meaningful. I grew up with big words at the dinner table and so should our Kindergarten kids. If they can understand and know the word Transformer, then they can know that butterflies drink from a proboscis (the straw that comes out of their mouths.
    P.S. I hope I didn't offend you by asking you to change the words in your insect book from "it" to the sight words "she/he" I love your work and you have inspired me to be a better more effective teacher. Thank you for your blog and all that you do for this profession.

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    1. Hi Jen, You didn't offend me at all! I'm so sorry that I haven't had a chance to do that for you. This has been a crazy week. I should be able to get to it tomorrow.

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  18. All I can say is THANK YOU, Deanna! I firmly believe that the more you challenge students, the more they rise to the challenge--at any grade/age. I do not "dumb" down (for lack of a better term) my vocabulary with my three-year-old daughter, and because of it, she is learning amazing new words each day. She gets looks in grocery stores and comments from adults who are amazed at her vocabulary. I would want her teachers to do the same!

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  19. I teach higher level vocabulary and truly believe it is part of being a life long learner and keeps them excited and engaged! I cannot imagine teaching another way--Thanks for all you share and your wonderful units!
    Chris

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  20. I am all about building language! Bigger words create bigger brains!

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  21. Why wouldn't we teach our kinders rich, meaningful vocabulary?! I sooo agree with you. I love it when my kiddos use vocabulary in the correct context, and are able to write using those specific words. Bring on the amazing vocabulary words, Deanna!

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  22. It is our duty to teach our students academic vocabulary to create a higher level of thinking. I like how your units are infused with higher level vocabulary. It makes the lessons more meaningful, and creates a deeper level of understanding.

    Becki
    http://littlemisshoodsadventuresinkindergart.blogspot.com/
    I would love for you to drop by my blog if you have a chance :)

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  23. I love using big words with my students and are amazed that my students can use and remember these words. Early in the year I heard one of my students tell his table, "I am drawing a really great habitat for my animal." LOVE!!! I have also had 2 different parents so excited about the words their little ones are using (crescent....drawing a moon in our owl unit and misconception). Thanks for inspiring me to be a better teacher! Keep the words coming!!!

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  24. I am a HUGE fan of teaching the "big kid" words to kinders! They love it and it is exciting for them! Although there are areas where I feel some standards push our kinders too much, this is absolutely NOT one of them! They need a rich, meaningful vocabulary that they can own and understand!

    -Lacey
    Wild about Teaching!

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  25. ....the more the better! I love it, especially considering that I teach 1st, lol! Send me all those kiddies you're teaching big words...I'll take 'em! I love it when parents come back and ask me what a word means that their child came home and shared with them!

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  26. I totally echo the ideas of these other lovely ladies!
    Our kindergarten kiddos need high expectations; if you set these high expectations, they will achieve them. The students are not required to spell these words, they are being exposed to "big" words which will help their knowledge grow. It is my experience that they kiddos love learning big words and using them in conversations. It is great for them to stretch their brains and expand them with new words and ideas. We need to continue to expose our kindergarteners to new vocabulary; it is an essential part of learning!

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  27. Teaching big vocabulary is something that I used to focus on more and somehow have drifted away from. Thank you for this reminder of how important this is.

    Bobbie
    The Daily Cupcake…A Kindergarten Blog

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  28. It bugs me so much when primary teachers "dumb down" the language. Just because we teach little ones, it doesn't mean they can't learn the "real words" for things. Kudos to you for teaching those vocabulary words!

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  29. I'm definitely a fan!! I just got finished teaching a mini-unit about butterflies which included all of those BIG words, metamorphosis, chrysalis, symmetrical, and last but not least oviparous!! All of my students can explain and write using each and every one of these words and use them in their every day conversations.

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  30. I am all for teaching higher level vocabulary. Even though I may not formally "teach" it through activities with the words, I still use the words and sometimes write them on the board when I use them. I've always used "big words" with my own children at home. There's nothing funnier than hearing a 3 year old use a big ol' word correctly in a sentence. ;)

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  31. I love your response! I recently received suggestion about one of my products that floored me. I just wanted to tell the person that they were crazy! You were so nice about it all! I guess there really are a lot of differing opinions about teaching! Please don't change a thing!

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  32. Rock on sista! We get from our students what we expect...I expect big brains to grow by leaps and bounds, and that includes understanding and using meaningful, rich vocabulary! :)

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  33. Are you kidding me? How can you NOT teach rich vocabulary to your students?
    Teach on! You're doing a MARVELOUS job!

    http://eps.schoolspecialty.com/downloads/articles/why_teach_vocabulary.pdf

    First Grade Shenanigans

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  34. I completely agree with your use of vocabulary words. I do the same thing in my kindergarten classroom. We call the larger vocabulary words our "college" words. I completely agree with exposing my students to all of the information and vocabulary that I possibly can. I've always found that my students rise to the challenge. They can and will learn these words and use them correctly. Their little minds are sponges right now--they are excited to soak up all they can. Why not throw out some "big" words? :)

    Keep up the good work. You are doing wonderful things in your classroom by keeping your students engaged and promoting higher order thinking. I look to you as an example of what kindergarten is all about! You just keep doing your thing!

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  35. I love that you use higher level vocabulary with your kids! You are such an inspiration. :)
    ~Jada
    Daisy Days for Learning

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  36. I agree with you on teaching higher vocabulary. I give my students 6 different vocabulary words each week. We define them and use them in context. I haven't had other teachers tell me that the words aren't age approriate, instead for me it has been some of the parents. I explain to them that I am exposing their child to words that they normally wouldn't use so that in the future it won't be a challenge for them. I say keep doing what you are doing.

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  37. This post makes me incredibly sad that someone felt the need to criticize a fellow teacher. Do we not get this enough from parents? I completely agree that we need to expose students to the real scientific terms and not cutesy them up. I think kids rise to the occasion and feel proud when they learn a “grown up word.”

    We have Firsties that come to us not knowing all their sounds and letters, as well as ones that are already reading Harry Potter! We need to teach to all of these children and expose them to the rich vocabulary that is out there. Keep doing what you’re doing, Deanna. It’s obvious that there are plenty of us out here that love what you’re doing!
    ~Christy and Tammy

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  38. I agree that we should always be extending our students. I always offer higher level activities and remember Vygovsky's Zone of Proximal Development. By providing the scaffolding and the experiences, we should give children the opportunities and experiences that "broaden their horizons". We should never underestimate the abilities of our Kindergarten children. They are like little sponges and soak everything up. Of course there are some who are not ready at that time (that applies for every year), but every child should be able to take something away each day no matter how big or small. We should reach for the stars and if we only get the moon, we've done well. As a teacher we owe it to our students to push them that little bit more. I always like to introduce my kindergarten students to famous artists and their work. Only recently we looked at Kandinsky and his Concentric circles as part of our maths and we painted concentric circles. The parents were amazed that their children knew so much about an artist that some of them had never heard of, and at the vocabulary their children were using. So... I say keep doing what you're doing!!!
    Rhonda
    Classroom Fun

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  39. I think its great you are using higher level vocabulary! If you speak the language enough they actually start to get it (imagine that!) In my district our test scores always come out low in vocabulary because teachers don't do enough in the area of vocabulary. If you don't raise the bar they will never reach for it!
    P.s. I can't believe your district has no reading program. No wonder you are always creating!!

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  40. I totally agree with you about vocabulary! Young children are more capable than some people think. I love what you do!
    Chrissy
    Http://firstgradefoundme.blogspot .com

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  41. We are encouraged to teach academic Tier 2 vocabulary in our district. I use "BIG" word all the time and love when my kids say "what does that mean?" Depending on your population of students you can push the envelope with their vocabulary. Most of my kids still need to learn the basic everyday vocabulary as they are all learning English, but i scan still introduce the "BIG" words too. We are on year 10 of the same reading program HM (Houghton Mifflin) I am so over it. I think I'll check out your insect unit.
    ✿Tiffani
    Time 4 Kindergarten
    Time 4 Organization

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  42. I completely agree! I teach students with special needs that struggle to talk, but most of them can use regurgitate in a complete sentence and act out what it means! I can get them to read and practice sight words by using them as the bridge o our "big" words. I love all of the teacher bloggers because it gives me hope for education as compared to the really lousy teachers there are!

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  43. I couldn't have said it better myself! I love how excited my students are to use the vocabulary words in their conversations! And I love your style of teaching!

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  44. Completely agree with you Deanna - my kinders have always loved learning 'big' words and never had a problem.

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  45. You are absolutely correct in teaching these vocabulary words. Students need to hear and use a word many times before it becomes part of their own natural vocabulary so why not start in kindergarten? The more we can expose our students to rich language, the better prepared they will be for the future. Students rise to the expectations we have for them so I think it's our job to challenge and push them as far as they can grow while in our classrooms. Great job!
    Erin
    Sample’s Superstars

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  46. Have you heard of project G.L.A.D??? You would LOVE it. Vocabulary is a key piece to activating higher order thinking skills for children. There is such a small window for humans to learn language and our kinders are in that learning language sweet spot. Why not take advantage of this time and teach them meaningful vocabulary, scholarly vocabulary that will impact them their entire educational careers?!?! I think it is brilliant and necessary. Amen!

    Sheila

    Sprinkle Teaching Magic

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  47. It looks like everyone here agrees with you about teaching higher vocabulary to our students. They are so ready to soak up all that we teach as long as we scaffold their learning by giving good examples and making all of those amazing charts you have. Clearly your students are learning and loving what you teach!
    I LOVE your anchor charts and your students did an amazing job with their writing!

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  48. I'm with you 100%. I absolutely believe in having high expectations - in every subject. I taught kindergarten before teaching first, and my students were writing simply paragraphs and books. It's a dis-service to our children to label something as 'too difficult'. Keep expectations high, and you'll be surprised what they can do. Why compromise and lower your expectations just because YOU think something is too hard? Let them show YOU what they can do. :) Love your comments.

    Emily
    Tangled with Teaching

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  49. I completely disagree with the comment that was left for you! It is very sad to think that some teachers do not believe enough in their students. I ALWAYS incorporated higher level vocabulary! I taught Kinder at a private school, but I was given complete control over the curriculum. My students always left Kinder reading at a first or second grade level and parents still tell me how grateful they are for the strong foundation in reading and writing that I provided my students with. I wanted my kids to love learning and to love writing!!

    I was always impresses with their work and their progress! Every year, I had students start a journal (knowing they could not write yet) on the first day of Kinder. I would give them a morning prompt to think about and illustrate and we slowly progressed to more higher leveled thinking prompts and responses. Every quarter, I would have my class sit on the carpet and we would go back to the beginning page (the first day of school) and they could evaluate their progress & be proud of their accomplishments. There were several times I had students swear that the first few pages were not their own because they couldn't recognize their first attempt at writing...SOOOOO CUTE!!!

    I did have parents ask many times why I incorporated writing skills even before students were able to read and I always showed them why. I believe the only way that students will be successful in reading and/or writing is to teach these two skills side by side.

    I still have my Kindergarten website online that I created and I have a ton of student writing samples on our "student publishing"page. My students were always so excited to see their work online...like they were famous authors (-;

    http://www.gokinder.com/writing.cfm?subpage=898904

    What REALLY matters is NOT what your criticized about, but what your students learn and whether or not they are successful and proud of themselves and their work at the end of the year. You know what works and if you are like me, then you never stop creating and revising lessons to meet your students' needs.

    I think you are completely AMAZING!!! Your lessons have inspired and helped so many teachers incorporate successful lessons. There is no ONE magical program or method that will work for all students...I hope that teacher begins to really SEE her students' potential! All kids have the ability to learn - not all teachers have the ability to make that happen...unfortunately. My son's first grade teacher REALLY set him back. You are doing great things for your students and they are loving to learn, which will be in their hearts forever...I loved teaching Kinder because you get to lay the foundation and thinking for those kids that they will take with them throughout their education. Believing in them helps them to believe in themselves!!

    Michelle
    3amteacher@gmail.com
    The 3AM Teacher
    Visit The 3AM Teacher FB Page

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    1. OMG...sorry for the essay! hahaha!! I have had WAY TOO much caffeine (well, one diet red bull).

      If you read my post, you will see that. at least I am consistent in my ramblings...LOL..I know I will regret that one tomorrw, but there is no turning back now...

      Michelle
      3amteacher@gmail.com
      The 3AM Teacher
      Visit The 3AM Teacher FB Page

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    2. I agree with you with teaching meaningful Vocabulary, and if you believe your students will get the concept go right ahead. Haven't they heard that Kindergarten is the the new First Grade? I also believe that we should all have high expectations of our kids, and if you give them a chance they will rise to the occasion :)
      I love your units, keep on doing what you do best!
      Lovely Little Learners

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  50. Its all about the expectations and kiddos thrive on rising to meet them!! I LOVE your stuff! I teach pre-k and use a ton of your units (modified slightly to fit my needs)! Thank you for all you contribute!

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  51. I have to agree with you!! I teach higher level vocabulary as well. I always try to find a word or a way to simplify it for my struggling learners. I am happy to say that most of the time they catch on to the higher level vocabulary as well. It's all about how you teach and how engaging you make it.
    Barbara
    happyteachingfirst.blogspot.com

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  52. I read a quote awhile back that says that kids only know it's a big word (hard word) if you tell them it is. I love that thought and I totally agree with it!! If they think they can do it, they totally can!!!

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  53. Just like the rest of the comments, I completely agree with you. How are the students going to learn these words if we don't teach them. My 1st graders love learning big words. The bigger, the better. It makes them feel so proud of themselves. I also try to use rich vocabulary with my 4 year old at home. She loves it and has an amazing vocabulary. Keep doing what you're doing!!!

    Jodi
    fun-in-first.blogspot.com

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  54. I completely agree.... keep stretching their learning "wings" :)

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  55. Sooooo all about it, Deanna!!!! You make a great point and I'm in agreement with you. As Jodi said above, I use a rich vocabulary at home too...that's why Becks will frequently things that are "inappropriate" or "ridiculous!" He's three! Rock on, sister!!!!

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  56. Good for you! I taught Kinderkids for many years and this year I moved over to Pre-K. I still teach those vocabulary words to my little ones. Kids LOVE big words and therefore love to learn them. I call these words 2nd (or 3rd, or 4th!) grade words and the kids think that they are big stuff! Thanks for all you do. And keep it up! BJ

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  57. I'm serious in saying- Kinders can learn anything you want to teach them! I truly think they take "in" more than the older grades, because learning is still new and fun for them! They love learning new, big words/ideas!
    Tara
    Little Minds at Work

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  58. I have a student teacher right now and we recently had a conversation about this topic. She stated that she would never have thought to teach higher vocabulary to kinders until she came to my room. She also said she really enjoys the ways I teach new words to my kiddos and sees that they really retain what they are learning. I just think kinders are so ready for high vocabulary and can pick up the words quicker than other students in higher grades. I think your resources are wonderful. :)
    Erica

    Sprinkles to Kindergarten

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  59. OH my! I have A LOT to say about the person who made that comment, but I don't think there's enough room! lol

    Kids rise to the level of our expectations. Dumbing down our language will only limit their ability to succeed.

    I love what you do and stick to your guns! I think you're RIGHT ON!!

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  60. Ms. Jump,

    I would love to be in your classroom!!! Looks so inviting, fun and full of great things to learn. I do think young children love "BIG" words and can learn them and use them correctly. A perfect time in those formative years to instill a vast vocabulary that can later be retrieved. In todays acronym filled verbage I like the idea of students learning words and their definitions and then how to exend them in their writing. I would say you are on target and to keep doing what works!!!!

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  61. LOVE LOVE LOVE the higher vocab!!!!! Kids are not dumb! They can and will use it. My kids LOVE to surprise their parents with their new vocab. My 4 year old daughter loves to use new words!! Kids love to learn - that's why we go to school from 5 - 18 it's our BEST learning time1

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  62. I love using higher level vocabulary in the classroom and my kids love learning those "big kid" words and going home to share. Keep using them!!

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  63. I agree with all those who have posted before me. Kinders are like little sponges and they soak up so much. Plus they still think words are cool. Why wouldn't you take advantage of that? I read your freebie insect book and it made me wish I had used the word entomologist with them. I just didn't even think of it. We're always on the look out for interesting words in my class. Keep on doing what you're doing.
    Ms. Kerri and her Krazy Kindergarten

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  64. I feel the same way as most above - these little kiddos eat it up when you teach them vocabulary. It makes my heart smile when I hear them talking about things and USING the vocabulary we are learning CORRECTLY! It is a perfect tie-in with Fancy Nancy and how we use more interesting words when writing so that our readers will enjoy the story more and possibly learn new things too! I am so happy that I have taken the time to teach my kids so many wonderful words this year! I am hoping that their first grade teachers will appreciate it too!!!

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  65. One more person here that agrees with most reposes! Thanks for getting this dialog going, Renee

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  66. I teach a 1/2 day class at a Title 1 school. I had one student who was a ELL learner who did not even know what a letter of the alphabet was when she started school in the fall and last week she was sound spelling incubator. It was a moment of teacher celebration!

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  67. If I taught with you, I would be looking forward to having your former kinders as my first graders!!!

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  68. Michelle MortensenApril 18, 2012 at 5:11 PM

    When I was a stay-at-home mother, many parents would comment that I spoke I spoke to my children like "little adults". I replied that they could never learn the vocabulary, if they've never heard the vocabulary. Today, I continue to use "big" words with my children and my students. Kuddos to you for doing just that!!! P.S. I love what you do in your classroom! :)

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  69. If kids have not heard of it or seen it before, then they can't make connections to it. I see nothing wrong with it. We have to remember that our standards are the minimum. It is awesome to be able to challenge students, to see them grow! As a former 1st grade teacher and current Kindergarten teacher, I think it's awesome. We have a reading series and we have about 6-8 amazing words per week.

    Angela
    The Daily Alphabet

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  70. I LOVE teaching big vocabulary in kindergarten. We are doing an egg and chick unit right now in our classroom. We are using "big vocabulary" words like oviparous, brooding, germ spot, albumen, etc. The students LOVE learning new words/information. They don't always use the bigger words aka some students refer to the albumen as the white liquid in an egg BUT that doesn't mean we should sugar coat each and every term into something cutesy. They are learning SO much. There is nothing wrong with the kiddos being informed :)

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  71. why would you NOT teach them higher vocabulary??

    I have gotten a few emails {that were not so nice} attacking me because the items I stated as first grade were not listed on first grade level of common core OR they were too hard for some first grade.

    WHAT?!?! Does that mean you can not push them a little higher.

    If your kids can tell time to the hour with no problem.. why would you stop there. Go to the next step and teach them how to tell time to the 1/2 hour.

    If your kids can count by 1s 2's 5's and 10s.. Why not teach them to count by 3's and 4's?? I am ALL ABOUT pushing their brains a step further.

    Plus, you always have a few smarter kids in your class who need some higher order thinking You might not expect them to master the skills {or vocabulary} in your case.. but at least introduce it to them. Expose them to new things!

    Good for you to teach them some BIG words! Kids absorb and can learn things so fast. Waaaay faster than my brain can !!!

    Kacey
    Doodle Bugs Teaching
    Doodle Bugs Paper

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  72. I teach Early Childhood Special Education and have the same philosophy as you. I feel it is my duty to expose my little ones to all kinds of learning experiences, and vocabulary is one element. My kids amaze me with what they are able to learn. They love being able to go home and share something new. You are one of my role models. Keep up the good work!

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  73. I agree...I teach pre-K and I am in awe of what my kiddos understand and absorb. They truly are sponges and they love learning things they can share with their families. I know that they may not remember all of the facts and vocabulary that I teach them ... but I know that they will remember the feeling of confidence in their ability to learn.
    Mrsgoffskinders.blogspot.com

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  74. Bravo Mrs. Jump! If we set expectations high our students will reach them and surprise us in so many wonderful ways! Keep doing what you're doing, because you inspire us all!

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  75. Completely agree about higher thinking vocabulary. My kiddos love hearing big words and using them in conversations.

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  76. I totally agree! I use "big words" like oviparous, and exoskeleton, ect. as I teach my pre-K class. I find most of the kids love learning new exciting words. They are anxious to learn and explore the world around them. It's not like anyone is asking them to spell them in Kindergarten. Your work is amazing!!!

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  77. Deanna, I have actually used several of the vocabulary words you are using plus some (I also teach at a Title 1 school to boot). My children not only know the the four stages of the four stages of the butterfly life style but they can use the correct terms with pupa and larva and how it pertains to other insects. They LOVE to use the word EXOSKELETON!!! I had parents calling me asking why there student was saying they were "entomologists." When I explained they loved it:)) I knew the kids really had it when part of their homework was to write and use in a sentence words they had learned and several used insect terms such as abdomen, thorax, larva, a pupa. They have also dragged several administrators in to look at our monarch caterpillars as they turned into chrysalis today.. I LOVE their excitement with insects!!!!!

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  78. Deanna,
    Don't you stop with the large vocab words! I teach 1st grade, and this is only my first year, but I am constantly using bigger words with them ON PURPOSE, exposing them to different words and giving kid -friendly explanations, Anita Archer-style:) Every student in my classroom can say the word "facetious", using it correctly in context and even tell you what it means because it's one of my favorite "big people" words to use (I have a LOT of sarcastic little firsties, so it's said more than once in a day!) I also have always talked to my own children as if they were mini-adults, and people STILL continue to comment on their impressive vocabularies. I am glad someone as seasoned as you is not out there saying "Oh, my kids could never do that!" (as other veteran teachers might), and is instead stretching your expectations!! Sorry for the novel...bottom-line: You go, Girl!

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  79. Deanna, I have purchased your insects unit and love it. Will you post on your website (here) that you've updated it? I don't want to forget to check it for the updates. Thanks!

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  80. Deanna, I have been to sooo many Kinder conferences which have spoken of the need to use higher level vocabulary with the students. Kinders love learning new, higher level words and some students even thrive on it. I use high level math terms with my students (vertices instead of corners) and introduce or discuss higher level vocabulary whenever I can. Children will only rise to your expectations of them. If you constantly simplify the language for them, then they will not extend themselves. I agree with all of the comments above--everything that you can include in a Kinders day will give them a basis for the new learning that they will do throughout life. Don't change your work! It is awesome. And remember, you can't please all of the people all of the time. Hugs

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  81. Deanna I wrote a response to your blog post on my blog. I was just too inspired! Check it out!

    Sheila

    Sprinkle Teaching Magic

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  82. As a first grade teacher I visit your blog to see what you are teaching your kindergartners. I am always amazed at what you get your kiddos to do. I am always inspired to push my kids further. Build it they will come - teach them and they will rise to your expectations. I do include enriched vocabulary to my daily lessons but I need to push my kids with their writing abilities. Thank you for constantly inspiring me.

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  83. Deanna- I don't see anything wrong with your insect vocabulary. I think it is very appropriate for Kindergarteners to learn content words specific to what they are learning. It's important that they start hearing and using academic language. You're providing visuals and different ways to help them understand the terminology. Keep up the great work!

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  84. The key is that you are "teaching" them the more complex vocabulary in context. The more exposure the more connections it makes and it will become part of their vocabulary. In Montessori we are encouraged to use correct terminology when exploring concepts in geometry, science or geography. Keep doing what you are doing. The children are the ones who benefit from it. The simple words we keep for the parents to understand what we are saying to them. Keep up the great work.

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  85. I have scanned through the comments and it seems the consensus is that higher level vocabulary should be directly taught beginning with the lower levels. I also agree for several reasons. The main reason is I teach first grade and I teach one class of Reading Fundamentals at a local community college. If students are not directly taught vocabulary at an early age then they will have much more difficulty at the college level. Building an academic vocabulary cannot be learned through reading a newspaper since most newspapers and best seller novels are written at a fifth to sixth grade level and most television programs are written at a third to fourth grade level. How else will students build their vocabulary if they are not directly taught? I know there is a quote, "If not now, when?" When should we begin if not in the early grades? What can we do ,as educators, to inform other educators of the importance of building academic vocabulary?

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  86. I love your hard work and dedication. If anyone has created the quality units that you have created then they realize how much time and effort it takes. Thank you for sharing your work. I appreciate you. In fact, you are a celebrity in our school! We recognize your work as it is being showcased in the halls and we are always appreciative of how well the various DJ units work for us! Thanks again.

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  87. Oh my....teachers should NEVER underestimate the power of a 5 year old's mind! I hope my own children's teachers never say they "can't" learn something or it's "too hard for them to learn that." Yuck.

    If a 5 year old can learn a second language faster than an adult why can't they learn "big" words faster than an adult can?

    You keep on doing what you do!

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  88. I am all about exposing kids to the actual vocabulary of what we are studying. Even if they don't understand, and many times they don't, they have been exposed to the word. I don't think it takes away from the lesson what so ever and they still understand the concept.

    This just prepares them for what they will continue to learn the rest of their school life! It is all about repeating everything they've learned and building on it.

    You do AMAZING work!

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  89. I believe that using larger vocabulary words encourages the children to learn more. If you expect more, they'll gain more. If you expect less, you'll receive less. I always give the "large" vocabulary word first, define it, than give a simpler vocab word. Majority of the time, they use the larger word and in the correct context :) Keep using it!

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  90. I totally believe in using the correct vocabulary too. I have found that my students are like sponges and soak up every bit of factual information I can give them. I have often had parents tell me that their child taught them something they did not know. I even had one parent tell me that her daughter was teaching a docent at the aquarium all about the animal that was in their tank! Keep up the amazing work!

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  91. You are so right about using higher level vocabulary with our students...my students know what " schematic" means and how they use it to help them understand books...and they loved your penguin unit and learning about regurgitation....keep up the good work!

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  92. Deanna---I have bought a ton of things from you (I'm purposely not adding up what I have spent in total over the past year and a half---its bad enough that I own 160 items from TPT...:( LOL). I obviously like your things, because I've purchased and used them. However, there is a lot that I can't use, and if I could magically 'add' something, it would be to add things for those of us who have to do a lot of remediation, or who are using the units earlier in the year (and no, not expecting you to do this---that would only be my 'wish'). I am ALL for teaching as much as we can---and I try to enrich my students in all ways, especially vocabulary. However, for my MANY students who are coming to me with little or no exposure to life and text, enrichment to them is what might seem 'typical' to others. I try to expose my students to the wonders of the world, and the excitement of learning. I try to get my students excited about learning more---but at the same time, my focus in print has to be the letters, numbers and words they must learn by the end of the year (keeping in mind these are students who are coming to school who may not know their colors, who have never seen their name in print, and have not ever been read to or even sung to). Don't know about your negative commenters--obviously I haven't read the comments (nor made them)...but maybe that was what they were trying to say? Either way, just focus on the fact that so many of us out here are appreciative of all you have shared. :)

    Liesl in VA
    beachliesl@yahoo.com
    http://wildworldofkindergarten.blogspot.com/

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  93. Don't stop raising the bar. America's schools need to have high expectations, starting in the younger grades, to ensure our nation produces strong, intelligent and confident leaders. It begins from the time these little ones first enter our doors. If we, the teachers, don't create a solid foundation at the beginning, it becomes more difficult to implement as time moves on. Just my two cents. Keep your expectations high. The children can do it as long as someone is there to guide and motivate them.
    Eileen Griffin

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  94. I was going to write something inspired, but you other followers have said it all... Nuff said... I mean enough said!

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  95. Wow... I really meant "your other followers"...

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  96. Keep up the high expectations! The only thing holding you and your kids back from learning is your own belief of what they "can" and "cannot" do! That's what I always say! And, if they are getting it, then you are doing it "right."
    :)
    Heidi Butkus
    http://heidisongs.blogspot.com
    http://www.heidisongs.com

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  97. I noticed that she commented that the language used in the math journals was too complex. And that you said that kindergartners aren't expected to read them. Well I disagree, seeing the words over and over in journal practice tons of my kids CAN read them independently now! It's all about exposure!!

    Rachelle
    http://sweetkindergarten.blogspot.com

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  98. If we don't have high expectations for our students...who will. They love and want to know the TIER 3 words!!!!!!!

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  99. I would have to agree with you!!! Keep up those expectations. I teach these words to my preschoolers. They love to learn these TIER 3 words.

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  100. It was the adult who defined the word as difficult for a kindergarten kid and not the child...interesting. If something is taught in context then it is appropriate. Think of all the nonsense words children learn and pick up when playing video games. When there is a reason to want to learn it, remember it or spell it the children begin to take it on. Who would consider leaving a word out because it seemed too difficult?

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  101. Well said, Deanna. I share your philosophy about working with k's. I am new to blogs, but in the short time I have been reading them, you have been a wonderful inspiration to me. I would love to be a student in your classroom!

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  102. Mrs. Jump... you are amazing! I have bought 2 of your units (Penguins and Insects) and LOVED them both... especially the writing pieces! You are right on with the vocabulary... it is all about exposure! What better time than Kindergarten when they are learning language daily??? :) Way to go, lady!! Stick to your guns! Excited to see your froggy ideas!! :)

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  103. Kindergarten is all about word play. Exposing them to many words and higher vocabulary will only help them to know and use higher level vocabulary. I agree with many that if you think they can do it, they will. It also addresses differention for all students. Technology is exposing students to more than ever before and I hope my students can make a connection to a site they visit with vocabulary they learned in K! Thanks again for sharing your gift with all of us, it really is appreciated! Plus looking forward to I Teach Kindergarten to learn more from you!

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  104. I love your ideas. I think teaching higher level vocabulary is so important. I really believe in not "dumbing" things down as a special educator. Instead, making hard concepts accessible is the key! Thanks for sharing!

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  105. Deanna- I think your thoughts are right on. I go into so many classrooms where academic vocabulary and higher tiered words are never used and it makes me so sad. Kids need to hear these words and interact with them so that they can make them a part of their everyday language. We need to motivate our students to want to learn new words. If we model our excitement over learning and using new words, our students will want to do the same. The book Donavan's Word Jar is great for inspiring young learners to want to "collect" new words. Keep up all of your great teaching Deanna!! You are right on target with your thinking!

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  106. Deanna,
    I think your teaching of "big" words is spot on! My students gain a great deal of satisfaction and motivation when they share their big words with family and friends. I have found that others teachers become motivated to use those stretching words when they find kindergarten students using them correctly. Keep up the fabulous work you do. I wish I taught next door to you.

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  107. Elementary-age kids are sponges! Of course they can handle "big" words--as a librarian, I see it every time they hear a great read-aloud story. As educators it's our job to expose them to new words. How will their vocabulary increase if they never hear those "big" words?
    Swersty’s Swap Shop

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  108. I am totally on board with using higher level vocabulary words. Students love "big" words. They might not absorb everything, but the exposure is what counts. I begin by asking them to use the word "insect" rather than "bug." Rebecca

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  109. I am new to this blog, but used your materials when I taught Kindergarten all the time and they even inspire me now!! When I taught Kindergarten I used advanced vocabulary and the children thrived! We TOTALLY underestimate children. I had a student teacher and taught her to use advanced vocabualry and her advisor actually marked her down for it!!! ARHHHHHH I now teach 4th and have "uped the vocabualry score" even more. We are OBSESSED with teaching the greek and latin roots and are amazed with the results. I would have started this in Kindergarten had I known more about them then!!! Keep up the AMAZING work teachers!! Teach those BIG words!!
    Krista
    www.thereadingolympians.com

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  110. I teach Kindergarten and I use the vocabulary used in your untis all the time. I cannot tell you how many parents I have comment on how their child taught them something on the ride home or at dinner. I also had a 1st grade teacher looking at the materials we used from your units and say if you are using these words in Kindergarten then we need to step our vocabulary up in first grade. We are creating diverse learners and if we limit their knowledge we are only doing them an injustice!

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  111. I absolutely think we should expose our youngest learners to high-level vocabulary. I teach first grade to English Language Learners who speak primarily Spanish at home, and I feel it is so critical to teach academic vocabulary. As long as the words are put into a context that is meaningful for the students (as you clearly do!), I think we only grow our students' vocabularies.

    Angie
    The First Grade Scoop

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  112. I'm a Montessori Preschool - Kindergarten teacher who wants to say that the enrichment of vocabulary you give to children at this age is exactly what they should be hearing.

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  113. I completely agree with you. The children need the high vocabulary. They want that deeper knowledge of things. My children love the rich vocabulary! It is important as teachers to set the standards high for the children and then help them reach the goals.

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  114. I came (back) to kindergarten five years ago. I started my career in kindergarten and then spent 24 years teaching intermediate, gifted, and technology. I was asked to go back to kindergarten because I as "highly qualified" (i.e. I had an early childhood certificate). After so many years in intermediate, it's hard NOT to use large vocabulary words with the children! However, the only comments I have received from parents have been favorable. They LOVE to hear what their children are learning and have told me they also had to Google some words! I believe in setting the bar high. (The "height" depends on each child, however.) The students will reach for it!

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  115. You completely took a comment out of context and attacked another person's teaching philosophy. That is totally unprofessional. I believe you needed to reach out to the person to possibly ask how you can make it user friendly for all children. I speak using ...what is it... "big words"? However, I can't expect all of them to read them no matter how engaging or how well I model them. They come from different family dynamics, ethnic and at varying developmental levels. Look inside yourself before you ...jump!

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    1. Mercy! I had to take some deep breaths and count to 10 after reading your comment. I'm so sorry if I offended you but...I didn't take any comment out of context and I certainly didn't attack anyone's teaching philosophy. I simply started a discussion about teaching higher level vocabulary. I never indicated in this post or anywhere else that the students should be able to READ these words. However, I truly believe that it is important for teachers to use rich vocabulary when they are teaching their students. One of my littles was looking at a frog book today and she noticed that there was a life cycle chart that showed the eggs, tadpole, and frog. She got so excited that she yelled across the room, "I just found another animal that goes through metamorphones!" She didn't quite have the word right but she was able to make a HUGE connection. A frog goes through metamorphosis just like a butterfly does. I exposed her to a large vocabulary word and she understands the meaning I call that a success.

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    2. Deanna, I am with you on this one! Nothing motivates and excites my firsties than when I tell them that we are going to be using words that "are second grade...fifth grade...high school" words! I have taught my second and third graders "metacognition" How to say it, read it, and how to use it! Expansive vocabulary is a MUST in our ever changing world. We would be remiss if we just taught children "baby words". And no, I did not think that you over-reacted or attacked anyone's philosophy.

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    3. Lynn, your post was incredibly rude. She never "attacked another person's teaching philosophy." If you don't have something nice to say (or at least saying something that bothers you in a civil way) then we don't want to hear it!! These blogs aren't about putting others down, they are about inspiring each other to be better teachers. Deanna thank you for being such an inspiring teacher! Thanks for your great stuff!

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    4. By making a referral to the negative feedback comment on TpT in your blog without the person's prior knowledge, you certainly insulted someone professionally. I agree you should lift each other and be supportive. However, that feedback needed to be addressed FIRST to the person to whom it was made and not maskedas an example of classroom success. It hurts TREMENDOUSLY when words are taken out of context for both parties. Posting a negative comment in a forum that is intended to be uplifting...negates your purpose. What was probably an amazing experience in your classroom, has been lost by re-posting the buyer's comment on this blog. I simply could not read anymore as I have been on the receiving end.

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  116. I have bought many of your units. This year I have used at least 5 of them, if not more. The rich vocabulary and all of the amazing facts (about animals) really stuck with my children. I have a class that comes from many different family dynamics, ethnic backgrounds and varying developmental levels. My class ranges from one child heading to a self contained classroom next year all the way to a child on a second grade level. I have had parents call me and say their child would follow them into the bathroom to tell them about the unit we are studying. The would use "big words" and tell the parents what they meant. If you do your job well and your enthusiastic about it, then the children will feed off of it. If you're not comfortable with the richer vocabulary, then do some research and find a way to get comfortable. The common core stresses it and your children are counting on you to be there to guide them and support them. It isn't easy to change and often scary to go out of our comfort zone, but that is where we grow the most. Good Luck!

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  117. I think it is great that you are using meaningful vocabulary! I do the same in my class! I don't often purchase units from TPT because I am financially strapped this year ( aren't we all?) But I enjoy visiting your site and getting great ideas! I believe children will rise to the expectations you set for them! So why not set them high - I do, and my inner city, EL students rise to meet them every time! Please be encouraged that although you might get a negative response every once in awhile you have many, many more followers who think you are great! I wish I could see you at the Vegas kindergarten conference! Have fun!

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  118. I taught your unit this week with the large vocabulary. Not only did they understand it, but one parent reported today that her child came home with complete recall! Teach on!

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  119. I totally agree with you....I teach my kindergarten students vocabulary that is probably thought of as about their level.....but they soak it up....they are sponges. We should be filling up that sponge now.....before they decide that school isn't cool or fun...( I hope they never decide that, but some do!) I teach my K kids to read the very first day of kindergarten....the words...I CAN....because all year, we build on that...they can AND the DO!!!!

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  121. I teach kindergarten as well and share your philosophy about using and teaching advanced vocabulary with 5's. It also helps that the words are used in context and are discussed with excitement by an enthusiastic teacher!

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  122. I teach Kindergarten too, and it is certainly appropriate to use higher level vocabulary as long as it is taught in context, with visuals, and TPR. I use big vocabulary with my students whenever I can.

    Also I am so excited you are doing a froggy unit. I have been wanting to do an author study on Jonathan and his froggy books. Looking forward to purchasing your unit.

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  123. I completely agree about the high-level vocabulary. I teach all English Language Learners, so in essence ALL academic vocabulary is new to them--why not give them the high level words to discourse with? We do signal words everyday with vocabulary--so if it's a really tricky word, I put a little ditty to it with a motion..we repeat it over and over throughout the day (every time I send them off or onto the rug). Despite themselves, the kids are singing vocabulary to themselves at recess, in line, etc. When scaffolded appropriately and with repetition, young children are able to accomplish SO much...with vocabulary and beyond! Thanks for all you do!

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