Two Questions

 I got a few questions:

  1. One Word Images: in your book you give “house” as the example word from which the class creates the image. What would be three staple questions to use with this (versus 2/ 3 questions you list for an animal – when, what doing). I guess with either noun, my question is how to stay in bounds with seemingly lots of new language in the form of questions and then answers. With the house example, would said questions be Where, What look like, Who lives in it? What would the actor be doing? Any English on the board?
  1. Three staple questions: Is the house big or small? What color is the house? How many floors (required new word) are there in the house?

Two important points here: first, we don’t go out of bounds with stories but we kind of have to prime the CI pump with OWI since it is a beginning of the year activity. Word Associations and OWI are there to build vocabulary fast from Day 1. There is no way around it because we are expanding an image for beginning kids. It’s that way for OWI. Where the general admonition in CI is few new words, it’s fine with OWI – they can handle that kind of expansion as long as you don’t go too far.
Also, please think differently about the house. Stayon it and make it weirder. Who lives in it is not where you want to take it, since then you are not talking about the house anymore. Stay with the house and expand that image to a point of saturation and then quit it and go to another activity. It’s a big challenge early in the year to only provide the class with the “right” new words, the ones needed to make their vision of the house into their reality as a group.
Of course, if you had your story writer writing up the image you could, the next day, have them read it. I try to always read anything we create. Why not? It’s easy and they need to read – it’s the key to everything we do. After writing up the image in the reading (it takes four or five minutes tops) also write a nice little 5 or 10 question quick quiz. (I no longer have a quiz writer bc they mess up the questions and have found that I can write an easy y/n quiz in under 3 min. )

  1. Word Associations Wall:You give an example of a list in your CI book with a mix of 60 words. On the blog, under Word List instructions, you mention you have 132 words on your list. For my new word wall, should I have the smaller 60-word list; should I choose the remaining 60 words myself (more of the top 100 words maybe?); or is there a suggested, more conclusive list out there aimed towards this purpose?
  1. Sorry not clear on that in the book. Just put up the 60 words and be determined to get them taught. Really that is enough to prime the pump for whatever CI activity you are doing. And then if you want you can add more. Most important for me is to have every other word be a high frequency verb that I work like a mule in the first month of the year to start class. (Now that is done and I start class with SSR and then we discuss what we read as per a comment here yesterday.) What is most important is that they later can do free writes with lots of confidence with all those words that they worked on early in the year right there on the wall, raining down into their free writes. I love the word walls. They help so much.

Good questions and it’s never the wrong time of year to build a one word image or work for a few minutes to start a class with some word associations off the word wall.

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