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A DAY OF WORDS: Integrating Word Work in the Intermediate Grades

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Catalogue Number:  000121
Producer:  Stenhouse Publishers
Subject:  Professional Development
Language:  English
Grade Level:  Educators
Country Of Origin:  United States
Copyright Year:  2005
Running Time:  75

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Literacy floats on a sea of words in any classroom in conversations, textbooks, and essays written by students. By the intermediate grades, pulling out and analyzing individual words is a complex task for teachers and students. In the two-part video series, A Day of Words, fifth-grade teacher Max Brand demonstrates how he helps students search for, study, and celebrate words. Taped over the course of one day, we see distinct word instruction segments that Max has planned, along with many spontaneous teaching moments that occur for word work (with both individual students and in whole class settings). Through Max's emphasis on noting words systematically in every curricular area, his students learn that word work is about more than just gaining spelling skills or vocabulary knowledge, and become more naturally accomplished in their understanding and use of words in all contexts.

Program 1: Morning shows how Max starts the day with content area studies. Students use inquiry notebooks while reading textbooks. Max reviews notes with students, charting words and definitions, which will be used later for writing to a prompt. During science and math, students analyze individual words as part of the more challenging process of understanding sophisticated new concepts.

Program 2: Afternoon presents word work during the literacy block throughout the afternoon. Max uses a timed word activity to help a small group who struggle with fluency during independent reading. He confers with individual students as they write in reading notebooks and writing daybooks, reads aloud as students note words for placement on the word wall, and presents a mini-lesson highlighting language use in his own daybook.

A Day of Words is more than a collection of snapshots from random word work lessons—it captures the feel of a classroom where students are exposed to a rich variety of texts and are constantly focused on the specifics of language.

About the Author

Max became a teacher because he loves to learn and teaching gives him the chance to learn a ton every day.


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