Better than never, I'm sharing the results of my second dictionary skills lessons with 3rd graders today. If you didn't get to read my first lesson with Dictionary Dude, you can catch up HERE. So this past week's lesson was a follow-up on our dictionary skills lesson review and creation of Dictionary Dudes. I decided to use Jo Nase's idea for a dictionary relay. I used Jo's rules/guidelines in the beginning but had to tweak once I saw the "trouble spots" with my own groups of students. I also set my relay up a little differently. So, just take a look at what Jo created, read my lesson format, and then decide on what will work for your kids! It was a lot of fun and well-worth the very brief time it took to pull it all together. But, one word of caution, if you like a quiet library, this may not be the activity you are looking for.
I set up three stations for my relay game. I had these cute little cones from the Dollar Tree that I had stashed in a drawer and pulled out to mark the team tables. I also took a second to create little signs for each team, as well. I put a clipboard, 2 pencils, and a dictionary at each station as well.
I welcomed students to the library and we did book check-out first. We limited this to 10 minutes so that we would have about 30 minutes to play the relay after review and instructions. I wasted no time in settling our 3rd graders down on the carpet and doing a quick review of our key dictionary skills from last week's lesson. The kids remembered almost everything. Guide words are tough for kids, so I made sure to really emphasize the guide words and how we use them in our review.
I asked my classroom teachers to help me pick teams. Each teacher did this a little differently, but it worked quickly and efficiently. Once kids were lined up with their teams, I gave them the rules of the game. Basically, the first person would "run" up to the table and tackle question one, which is always looking up the word and writing the page number on which it was found. Then the second person is tagged and runs up to answer question two and so on. Once all questions are answered, they bring the clipboard to me for a quick check. I found out after about two classes that few teams rarely get all of the questions correct the first time, so I allowed the entire team to pull together to solve the problem of which answer(s) were wrong. This made it a little more inclusive.
One thing I had to tweak in my particular relay was the set up for classes that had a larger amount of inclusion or special education students. Teachers and I decided that we would allow pairs of students to tackle the questions to build confidence in the game and to keep kids from getting too bogged down if they were really struggling with a particular skill. It worked fairly well, but we did have some groups that needed a lot of help from myself and the classroom teacher.
After round one of the relay, the teams became a little more competitive. Some classes were able to do two rounds and some three. I didn't give any type of prize to teams who won, other than cheers of course. And I am happy to report that only ONE student approached me to ask "what do we get for winning". My answer? "The satisfaction that your team won." It was a great deal of fun and certainly made people wonder what on earth we were doing...the library was super NOISY each day I did this with students!!! And who doesn't love a little ruckus now and then?!
I was recently asked by my principal to cut back on STEM-maker lessons and focus more on supporting classroom teachers with our state testing. I lucked out when I found Jo Nase's Dictionary Dudes and Dictionary Relays activities posted on her blog. If you've never read Jo's blog, it is well worth a look and she also has a TpT store where you can get a pile of freebies and great library materials.
I started the first lesson this week with my third graders. I reviewed the concepts of alphabetization, guide words, parts of speech, and other elements of dictionary entries. This was no easy task because most students see dictionaries as obsolete. They told me to "Google it!". Of course we had a few giggles and it opened the door to some digital citizenship conversation, but we had to get past the digital and embrace the print. Once I got past this hurdle, things went more smoothly. The culminating activity was the creation of individual Dictionary Dudes using a template from Jo's website.
I had different words printed out and cut apart and in a basket. Students received a worksheet, pencil, dictionary, and then drew a word from my basket. The mystery of what word they would receive made the lesson a bit more exciting.
Once they had their word, they found it in the dictionary in order to complete their "Dude-sheet" as we called it. I also allowed small groups to do book check-out during this part of the lesson. Things went fairly well. Some students chose to embellish their "dudes" for a little extra fun.
Next week, I plan to use Jo's relay activity to have team races centered around dictionary skills. Of course, I'll be sharing that with you too! Click HERE to get the materials from Jo's website.
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