Saturday, 7 November 2015

Bring in the Magic - Dead Word Cemetery

I have been looking for ways to bring MAGIC into my classroom! Every week I am trying to find a new way to SPICE IT UP!
This week, we created a dead word cemetery :)

I started the event a few days in advance by creating some anticipation. I sent the kids home with a simple invitation. It read: "Wear Black on Tuesday for a special surprise!" The kids were so excited. Everyday last week they were trying to guess what we could possibly be doing!

Next, I did a little mini room transformation. I only had around $15 to spend but I went to Dollarama and made it work :)

My shopping list:
  • 5 foam tombstones
  • 26 mini spider webs and spider rings
  • caution tape

I started by putting a small spider web and spider ring on each students' desk. The kids were thrilled that they would be able to take home a small souvenir of our day :)

Next I set up some tombstones around the room. The kids were so excited to see the "spooky" atmosphere!

When the kids came into the room, I had them all sit down and play with their spiders. Once everyone was ready, we started using this crazy eye ball!

I simply tossed this crazy bouncy ball around the room. Whoever caught the ball got to come up and choose their "Dead Word" from the basket. Each student picked a different word.

Once everyone had their word, we recorded our terms on our organizers and had an elbow partner conversation about what our "dead words" mean. You can find the organizer that we used here.

This activity is super easy to differentiate! Simply let your lower learners switch their words for easier ones. For example, one of my English Language Learners originally chose the word "answered". I simply switched it out for the word "big".

Once everyone has a word, it is time to get to work! My students used an online thesaurus for this activity, however it could also easily be done with a hard copy thesaurus.

I had my students complete the organizer by writing down 15-20 synonyms for their "dead" word. Once they were finished with the organizer, we got artsy :)

Each student got a tombstone and on it they wrote "Here lies the dead word _______". Then students wrote all of the synonyms for that word. Finally, we glued our tombstones onto black construction paper and added some spooky elements like spiders.

This activity took us around two hours to do. I have a really low group of grade 4/5 students this year so we took our time and really tried to solidify the learning.

The best part of this activity is that it has transferred to their writing! During writing workshop today, I had many students go up to the "Dead Word Cemetery" and take a peek.

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