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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