Spotlight on Vocabulary

River Edge Public Schools

New and Exciting!

We are so excited about vocabulary this year! Teachers and students in second through sixth grades are using a new instructional resource; Sadlier Vocabulary Workshop.

As the Vocabulary Expert, Sadlier has set the bar on best practices for vocabulary instruction for mastering English language standards with Vocabulary Workshop.

That's why it's the country's #1 research-based vocabulary program!


Teachers are utilizing this vocabulary development program to explicitly teach vocabulary in context with high-quality science, social studies, and literary texts. They are sharing a variety of strategies for acquiring new vocabulary and helping students understand figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings. Classrooms are abuzz with fun and engaging activities the teachers have created especially for their students to enjoy. The entire school community is promoting students’ understanding of these words with multiple exposures over time in many different ways. Keep reading to find out how!

Roosevelt's 4th Grade Word Wizards

Ms. Church had her students work in pairs and gave each team two words from the current Sadlier unit. The teams identified the part of speech, developed their own definitions and created sentences to demonstrate their understanding of each word. Establishing one's own meaning for a new word is a "Best Practice" in vocabulary instruction.


Students also included digital pictures which added a visual component to their word meanings. Research shows that when students draw or create visual representations of words, they are internalizing the meaning of the vocabulary. The students then posted their work on a Padlet to share with their peers. The students are able to access and use the Padlet as a study tool going forward.


For those of you who don't what a Padlet is, it's a digital forum where students and teachers can create and collaborate in real time. This is a great example of meaningful use of technology in a classroom setting. The students really enjoyed this activity!


You can take a look at the screenshot below or click this link to see the entire Padlet:

https://padlet.com/churchc1/axan92ed762i

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Transferring Knowledge at Cherry Hill

Mrs. Halik has been reading A Long Walk to Water with her students. As they were working on a chart, "the kids started spewing out words from their [vocabulary] list to describe the character and the story!!" That was unprompted, authentic application. LOVE. IT.

Take a peek at the students' chart below.

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Using Vivid Vocabulary in Writing

Take a look at Ms. Moran's 5th graders applying Sadlier Vocabulary in their writing! Here are two examples of student work on strong leads (Sadlier words highlighted in yellow).

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Finding Our Vocabulary Everywhere!

Take a glimpse into Ms. Funtsch's classroom where students found Sadlier vocabulary "hidden" in the books they were reading!

Fun and Creative Ways to Engage Students at Cherry Hill School

Here are a few ways Ms. Schrettner helps make learning new vocabulary fun…


Kahoot: For each unit Ms. Schrettner creates a Kahoot game. Kahoot is an interactive game based learning platform using chrome books and a smart board. Typically the questions are combinations of ‘define the word’, ‘match the word to the definition’ or ‘find a synonym’. All her students love Kahoot and it helps them focus their attention on learning the definitions. They play the game at the beginning of the unit to capture their interest and also play it as a review activity before the assessment.


“I Have, Who has”: This game is a card game for students to match the definition to the word. Each student has 2-3 cards and can play the game during centers. The students have to listen to the definition and find the word by reading the cards in front of them.


If a student is struggling with a particular word, he or she makes a bracelet to decorate with the word and definition. The student then wears the bracelet for the day to revisit and reinforce the meaning.

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The River Edge Vocabulary Village

They say it takes a village to raise a child. Each child interacts with five to ten different adults in school each day. This is how every person ("the village") in our schools helps. On a bi-weekly basis, all district staff receives an email containing 2 or 3 vocabulary words that each grade level is working on. Everyone from physical education teachers to secretaries to nurses tries to use one or two of the appropriate vocabulary words whenever they interact with the students of that grade. The students get to hear them being used organically in various settings and different ways.


Here are some of the words students have studied in the past several weeks:


  • Grade 3: capture, restless, shallow
  • Grade 4: employ, yield, frantic
  • Grade 5: aggressive, linger, mishap
  • Grade 6: elusive, reverie, revocation


And here are few examples of the words being used across settings...


Art class: "I love how you captured those feelings in your artwork!" -grade 3

Phys Ed: "You'll need to yield if someone is running across your path." - grade 4

Lunchtime: "Don't worry about the spill, these mishaps happen all the time." - grade 5

Music: "This song tends to cause a dreamlike reverie due to the calming melody." - grade 6


We have successfully created a "Village of Vocabulary" in River Edge!

Ms. Moran's "WONDER"ful Idea!

Fifth-grade students at Cherry Hill are reading the book, Wonder by R.J. Palacio. In order to enhance their comprehension of the story, students used Sadlier vocabulary words to post sentences about Wonder on a class Padlet. Students enjoyed using "Vibrant Vocabulary" to share their vivid thoughts about Wonder with each other!
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To see the full Padlets click on the links below:


5C: https://padlet.com/moranc/dtptdt3uwdz8


5M: https://padlet.com/moranc/csr8v2wjf9mb

Sadlier Charades at Roosevelt!

The students in Ms. Otis' 4th-grade class love playing charades with their new vocabulary! They break up into five groups and each group is assigned a word. The students collaborate on the best way to interpret the meaning of their word. After a few minutes, each team acts out their word for the rest of the class to guess! Not only do the students have a blast but it's also a great way to internalize word meanings!
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Visit the Vocabulary Workshop website for free games and resources!

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Looking for research?

If you're interested in reading about the research basis for Sadlier's Vocabulary Workshop, follow the link below.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1JnF6nex7DHBDjNEx0gsrYDkV0E6kcq9HdPCKXUEIubxOXdkzzNeptGmt0rKKY8RoAowI3RRtXGnTElgp/view?usp=sharing

Kelly Scibilia, Instructional Supervisor and Coach

English Language Arts and Social Studies

River Edge Public Schools

scibiliak@riveredgeschools.org