Saturday, February 1, 2014

Hollywood Kingdom Context Clues: Sparking Student Motivation (with freebies) and a sale!

It all started with an idea. I was browsing around on Facebook and came upon Luckeyfrog's Lilypad's page.  She had shared about an awesome way she teaches context clues to her students, using made up words.

...and that's when I knew I HAD to do this, too! That's the great thing about social media and blogging. Teachers share great ideas and then other teachers can adapt those ideas to meet the needs of their students. It's a beautiful process!

Anyway, I looked though Jenny's Nonsense Words for Upper Elementary packet on TpT and was sold on the idea. As Jenny explained, some of our higher level students don't benefit too much from context clues lessons because they know most of the words we throw at them to "figure out." To solve that problem, Jenny created a bunch of nonsense words that kids LOVE to read and find the meaning to.. the only way they can actually do this is to actually use the context clues in the sentence. It really is a genius idea!

So, how did I adapt this genius idea in my own room? Well.. as most of you know, my classroom theme is Hollywood Stars. I knew that in order to sell the students on having our "own language" I needed for us to have a magical kingdom, which is where "Hollywood Kingdom" came from.

1. I downloaded free crown templates from {here}.
2. Instead of having students use paper to make the band of their crown, I threw out a mix of border mix-matches that I would probably never use anyway. Seriously, I've had some of it since my first year teaching because it was only a dollar and I needed it! Can you relate?!
3. I realize time for crafting isn't necessarily scheduled in my day, so I had to somehow make it content related. So, my students had to first review the parts of speech we've studied, and then write examples of these on their crowns. See.. 5 minutes of review and 10 minutes of crown making. Perfection!

Teaching is 20% content and 80% engagement, right?! 

4. To further the excitement of my class, I created dictionaries for each student to record their nonsense words. They loved them! These babies are going to stay in our class until the end of the year, and students will record new, REAL vocabulary words in there, as well!

5. To introduce context clues, well review really, each table had graffiti paper on it with the words "What are Context Clues." I just used butcher paper and spread it across each table, then glued on these pieces, which are the exact pieces on my anchor chart. Students had the chance to respond to several of my questions through writing, and didn't seem to mind when writing on graffiti paper!

What are context clues? Why are they important? How do they help good readers?

Throughout the lesson the students took notes on the types of context clues, and at the end, I had them write everything they knew about context clues so far.
 6. For our first "activity" and chance for hands-on practice with "real" words, I printed out these cards and resources from FCRR. You can check them out {here}, for free! (Note: I did use a couple worksheets from the Nonsense Word pack from Jenny, but I can't give you that! It's only $2 though.. a must buy!)

 7. Like I said, the kids had to grapple with this last activity! For real! And it was great to hear their thinking out loud as they talked with their partners. For this next activity, students got to practice with word meaning and vocabulary skills. The colorful strips were laminated so students could use vis-a-vis pens to write on them. Again, hello engagement! They worked with partners to find synonyms based on context clues and their prior knowledge.
My brother was tired and put his head down on the pillow. My brother was __________ and put his head down on the pillow. (Drowsy was the word card that went there).

We are certainly not done with context clues, but I thought through graffiti paper, Hollywood Kingdom crowns and dictionaries, and engaging practice, my students have more of an idea of what context clues are and how to use them. These types of activities from FCRR will be staples in my literacy block, so students can practice weekly. If you would like the dictionary I made, printables for the the graffiti paper and anchor chart, and one worksheet I make with nonsense words, click {here} and {here} to download those!

Link up with Head Over Heels for Teaching to share how you are sparking student motivation!!

In other news.. in honor of the super bowl, I'm having a sale, along with some other fabulous bloggers! My entire store, including bundles, will be 20% off for today and tomorrow!

Now I'm off to school with my Lilly to finish up my new focus wall. Eek! I'll post pictures on Facebook when I'm finished! (Do you follow me? Do that here!)

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  1. I love using graffiti paper! All of your activities are super motivating and thanks for sharing with everyone! I CAN'T WAIT to see your focus wall-it already looks amazing Mandy! Thanks for linking up such a great post!
    Head Over Heels For Teaching

    1. Thanks, lady! All throughout the week I think to myself, "Self, what is it that I could do with my kiddos that is engaging enough to blog about on Saturday?" Haha.. I enjoy linking up! :)


  2. Love all your work with context clues! It's such an important reading strategy! I know I spend lots of time on them in fifth grade as well! Loved all your ideas and I'm adding them to my bank of stuff. Thanks so much for sharing - your classroom looks like so much fun!

    My Shoe String Life

  3. Wow!! I'm speechless! It looks like each of your focuses (the anchor chart, graffiti activity, etc.) was a major hit to reinforce this strategy. Plus, you're expanding vocabulary through the synonym/antonym work. Really, I loved it all! I'm definitely pinning some of these to try to incorporate in my classroom! Thanks for sharing!

    Tales of a Teacher