Looking for a dynamite vocabulary and grammar lesson? Try these ten adjectives with the following lesson ideas.
In this blog post, I (selfishly) sat down and thought of my ten favorite adjectives. My favorite word of all time might be “ominous,” and I often take opportunities to use it. I also enjoy “surly,” but that is honestly because I get to define it with the word “churlishly” as well. I had way too much fun creating this list, and I’m not joking when I say that I’d like to know your favorite word.
I struggled to think of only ten of my favorite adjectives, but eventually I did, and they are below.
Not only am I chatting about my favorite words (you should share with me your favorite ones in the comments!), but I am also writing about ways to teach them. Everyone has unique approaches for teaching vocabulary, but honestly? A vocabulary and grammar lesson makes sense to me. When students and I learn new words, we talk about grammar.
I see most of an ELA class through a grammatical lens, but I especially understand vocabulary with grammatical concepts. Below, I’ve listed my favorite adjectives and best ways to meet those language standards while teaching them.
Lauralee’s favorite adjectives:
- Ominous: portending evil or harm; foreboding.
- Speculative: pertaining to consideration of some subject.
- Effulgent: shining forth brilliantly; radiant.
- Dubious: doubtful, marked by or occasioning doubt.
- Provocative: inciting or stimulating.
- Pragmatic: of or relating to a practical point of view.
- Null: without value or effect.
- Unilateral: involving one side only.
- Tentative: not yet finalized.
- Surly: churlishly rude or bad-tempered.
All of those adjectives have noun and adverb forms. If you are working on higher standards (identify and correctly use patterns of word changes that indicate different meanings or parts of speech), you have a provocative* lesson already. Still, most teachers rightfully shy away from the simple “memorize and quiz” vocabulary lesson.
How can you amp the vocabulary lessons while also meeting advanced language standards? Try these ideas:
Model dictionary use.
Open the dictionary and look at the different forms of words. With ten words, you might even assign one word per student partnership.
Discuss what you think when you hear a certain word. Act out the word if possible, or ask students about their prior knowledge of the definition.
Sometimes, a simple discussion of the word, its use in the dictionary, playing the dictionary’s pronunciation, and looking at sample sentences plants the knowledge of the word for students.
Write the words.
Make the adjectives nouns. Then make the adjectives adverbs. Think of various activities, though.
Decide what type of writing you’d like students to practice (or ask them to choose), and ask for a paragraph or sentences with the vocabulary word used in another manner. Remind students to avoid the subject + linking verb + predicate word sentence.
Hang large sticky notes or posters around the room. Make a header of a goofy sentence. Rotate students around the room to add to the initial sentence to create a collaborative story that practices the vocabulary words.
Finally, create a jar of the vocabulary words with another jar of labels for nouns, adjectives, and adverbs. Students will draw a word and then the part of speech. That is their initial practice.
Any of those activities can be added to a word wall. . .
Make a word wall.
I wrote about connecting grammar and vocabulary with a word wall a few years ago.
If you have “dead” time in class, word walls fill that time constructively. Practice the meaning with students, and discuss the pictures students drew. Ask students to use the variations of words, and make a quick writing activity of it. (As an exit ticket, ask students to write a sentence on a sticky note and add it to the word wall.)
Plus? Older students enjoy seeing their work showcased. A word wall is wonderful for classroom community.
A vocabulary and grammar lesson combination moves away from the dreaded “grammar out of context” conundrum. Grammar alongside vocabulary empowers students as they use the words in their writing.
Another tool that supports students with vocabulary lessons is pictures. Melissa details vocabulary lessons with pictures and more over at Reading and Writing Haven.
* Proactive is a fabulous word to teach connotation and denotation.