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Wants and Needs and Knowing the Difference

Students are asked to determine the difference between basic wants and needs. This can be a fun lesson with easy connections to previous lessons and their lives.
WANTS and NEEDS and knowing the difference is a Kindergarten Standard of Learning in Virginia.  It's sounds impossible, but it can actually be a really fun unit for kindergartners.  They understand the concept of "want," so you really just need to help them think about what they need.  I like to teach this unit between Thanksgiving and Winter Break.

What did the Pilgrims NEED?
Students are asked to determine the difference between basic wants and needs. This can be a fun lesson with easy connections to previous lessons and their lives.
The week before Thanksgiving we have the poem above.  It's a play off the original "I Saw A Ship Go Sailing," but I tweaked it to talk about several standards. Obviously, the ship is the Mayflower, but we also added "it was full of things we NEED" referring to the Pilgrims.  We talk about how the Pilgrims could only bring what they needed, there wasn't room for extras. So going into our Wants and Needs unit, they have background knowledge on what "needs" are.

A Quick & Easy Way to Teach Vocabulary


 I want to share my favorite vocabulary activity with you!  One of the great things about this Vocabulary Graphic Organizer is that it can be used K-5 and across all subject areas.  There is a free copy of the organizer later in this post.

I want to share my favorite vocabulary activity with you!  One of the great things about this Vocabulary Graphic Organizer is that it can be used K-5 and across all subject areas.  There is a free copy of the organizer later in this post.

 I want to share my favorite vocabulary activity with you!  One of the great things about this Vocabulary Graphic Organizer is that it can be used K-5 and across all subject areas.  There is a free copy of the organizer later in this post.

This graphic organizer is separated into four parts
1. Unknown Words: I have never seen the word.
2.  Familiar Words: I have seen it but I am not sure of the meaning.
3. Recognized Words: I know this word.
4. In-depth Words: I can teach this word to someone.

Before reading, I give each student their own organizer and we go over each quadrant and talk about why we might put a word there. The sentences under the main headings are great to guide this discussion.

I display one word at a time, read it to them, and give them a few moments to write it in the appropriate quadrant.  You can display the word on your Promethean Board, dry erase board, or even index cards.

 I want to share my favorite vocabulary activity with you!  One of the great things about this Vocabulary Graphic Organizer is that it can be used K-5 and across all subject areas.  There is a free copy of the organizer later in this post.

Once everyone’s organizers are complete, it’s time to go over them!  There are two formats I like to use to go over the vocabulary words.

1. One way is to use the list of vocabulary words and go through them one at a time.  If the word was pollination I might start by saying “Has anyone every heard of this word before?  Did anyone mark this as an in depth word?”

2. Another way is to go through the word list by quadrant.  I might ask students to look at their In-depth Word list and have them take turns “teaching us” about the word.  Next we would look at the Recognized Words and so on.  Hopefully by the time we make it to Unknown and Familiar Words we have addressed most of the vocabulary and students will have a better understanding.

In both scenarios the student(s) who marked a word as In-depth can lead our vocabulary discussion and teach us what the word means.

We often google images of vocabulary words to help further our understanding.  I freeze my Promethean board when googling images just in case...you never know what will pop up!

I have included TWO free version of the Vocabulary Graphic Organizer: A printable paper and a google slide template!

Click HERE to download your copy.  There is a pre and post assessment included.  This is helpful if you want to check back in to see if students have moved the words to different quadrants after going over the vocabulary and reading the text.




Click HERE to access the Google slides version.  It is View Only so to use it with your students go to File > Make a Copy!



Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by and read this post!  Please let me know in the comments if you have any questions!

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 FREEBIE Alert!  I want to share my favorite vocabulary activity with you!  One of the great things about this Vocabulary Graphic Organizer is that it can be used K-5 and across all subject areas.  Click to read more!







Kids Creating: Games For Learning

How can you use games to help students practice literacy skills? In my classroom, students have been creating games to take home based on their needs.

My students love to play games, but I was struggling to keep up with them in terms of differentiation and keeping it fresh.  One morning on my way to work, I had a brainstorm: Why can't they help make games to meet their needs?!?

Encourage Imagination and Oral Storytelling with Spot

Encourage students and children to use their imagination to tell stories.  The Spot app provides a platform to support this.

With each new set of students that we meet each year, one thing has become increasingly evident: oral language needs to be strengthened.  This could be for a number of reasons: more screen time, meals on the go, less playtime (recess too), or other changes in a culture.  But regardless of the reasons, as teachers we have to support language development.  Without oral language skills, comprehension, writing, and math explanations are much more difficult.  So what can we do?

Five Unique Ways to Build Reading Fluency

Students' reading fluency develops just like bike riding skills. Our little ones start off reading word by word with occasional "falls", but with lots of practice, they gain speed and momentum to glide along and make meaning. This post includes lots of help for addressing reading fluency including freebies.

Reading is like riding a bike. You watch little ones beginning to ride a bike, they're wobbling all over the place. But as we practice and practice and practice, we don't even think about peddling anymore. Eventually we can ride with no hands. – G. Reid

Students' reading fluency develops just like bike riding skills. Our little ones start off reading word by word with occasional "falls", but with lots of practice, they gain speed and momentum to glide along and make meaning. The challenge of reading fluently requires several subskills in order for a reading to experience fluency success. What are those skills?

5 Simple Ways to Embrace the Holidays without Sacrificing Content

Check out this post with 5 simple ways to embrace the winter holiday season in your literacy classroom without sacrificing content!

Are you looking for simple ways to embrace (and survive!) the holiday season without sacrificing the content you are responsible for teaching?  My hand is raised!  My students have fun each and every holiday season in my classroom, but I never stop teaching.  You will not find my students and I watching the Grinch on a Friday afternoon...Read on to find out how you can incorporate the holidays so that your students still have fun, but continue to teach at the same time!

I Like Big Books and I Cannot Lie!

Make your own big class big books using sight words and student pictures.

Up-to-date big books can be hard to come by.  They are expensive and not a priority in many school's budget.  So how can I implement big books in a classroom when I don't have the money to do so?

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