March 1, 2007

First Grade Word Choice Methods

Terese shared these word choice methods...

In first grade, word choice is continuous since their vocabulary is so limited. In the beginning of the year, we use our five senses to brainstorm adjectives for each sense. I make a chart and add to it throughout the year. That way, the words are always available to them when they write.

As the year progresses, I do a lot of modeling.

I write sentences on the overhead with "overused" words. We begin with the verbs, and try to replace the existing verbs with action verbs. We always try to change forms of the verb "to be" to action verbs.

We then try to add exciting adjectives. Again, this has to be modeled again and again.

We are now at the point of the year where we are progressing to short paragraphs on the overhead and revising them. For first grade, we emphasize strong verbs and adjectives.

We draw pictures of the sentences before we revise and after to emphasize the difference. We are always trying to form a picture in our readers' minds. If my first graders don't learn anything else, all of them will be able to tell you that!

Towards the end of the year, we do a beach unit. (As I live in Delaware, that is where the children's minds are by the end of the year anyway.) In pairs, the students pick an ocean-related animal or object and research it. One of our activities is to write a simile for our topic. Of course, we read many books first for examples. Then, the children make a page for a class book of similes. They draw their topic on the left and the object they are comparing it to on the right. They write the simile below.

In first grade, this project is better towards the end of the year when the children are more comfortable experimenting with writing.