Word Nerds Book Study

Word Nerds

Sabra over at Teaching With a Touch of Twang has been hosting a book study on Word Nerds by Brenda Overturf, Leslie H. Montgomery, and Margot Holmes Smith. I read this book in ONE sitting. Could not put it down! The ideas and strategies are so practical and doable in the classroom. However, keep in mind that if you’re not already devoting part of your day to vocabulary instruction, you will need to carve out a chunk of time to begin. 🙂

You can read about it, and I think even preview it online, or buy a copy at Stenhouse. Here’s a little description of the book:

Word Nerds

Teaching All Students to Learn and Love Vocabulary

Brenda J. Overturf, Leslie H. Montgomery, Margot Holmes Smith

Word Nerds takes you inside classrooms at a high-poverty urban school and shows how two teachers implement creative, flexible vocabulary instruction that improves their students’ word knowledge and confidence, enhances classroom community, and increases achievement.

Here’s a study guide: http://www.stenhouse.com/assets/pdfs/wordnerdsguide.pdf

And here’s a video of 2 of the authors being interviewed: http://www.whas11.com/great-day-live/video/Teachers-write-Word-Nerds-about–201062181.html

My goodreads summary:

Now this is an AWESOME book about strategic vocabulary instruction. Not only does it offer strategies for teaching vocabulary, but it also gives you a 5 day plan and 10 day plan that you could follow if you wanted. Another practical PD book that I’m in love with.

Now let’s get started with my thinking on CHAPTER 7!! 🙂

Chapter 7-Spreading Vocabulary Wings

This chapter begins with the study of morphology which includes root words and affixes. This is an important part of the Common Core State Standards. The authors of this book call their activity-“Crystal Ball Words”. It’s an awesome activity that begins with 1 word and ends with about 41 words!!!!!!!!!! Wowza! Talk about expanding vocabulary! 🙂 Here’s the example from the book:


They also talk about how explicitly teaching vocabulary not only adds vocabulary to a child’s knowledge bank, but it teaches them about the world as they make connections and inferences when reading texts.

I LOVE the “talk like rascals” activity where the teachers wrote “pirate talk” sentences on index cards, and the students had to work in groups to change them into “rascal talk” sentences that are more sophisticated. One example was:

“me cut rock with me tool”-pirate talk

“My chisel blazes through the rock like a swift runner”-rascal talk created by students

And of course they ended with a pirate vocabulary celebration!!!

Some books they mentioned as ones to extend vocabulary were 13 Words, Frindle, and The Boy Who Loved Words.

I just have to say that I’m in love with this practical book and all of the strategies and ideas they provide. I absolutely LOVE their Crystal Ball Words activity, and the “rascal talk” activity is great as well.

I’ve already devoted a small bulletin board in my 6th grade classroom to our EXPLICIT VOCABLUARY INSTRUCTION that is going to take place everyday!!!!!!!!!!!

Can’t wait to begin SPREADING OUR VOCABULARY WINGS!!!!!!!!! 🙂

Teach Like a Pirate Chat/Podcast

Teach Like a Pirate: Increase Student Engagement, Boost Your Creativity, and Transform Your Life as an Educator

The Teach Like a Pirate twitter chat was tonight, and it was FULL of awesome ideas!! 🙂 If you couldn’t take part in it, they will storify it. Look up the hashtag #tlap.  It will be next Monday night also for the next part of the book. Monday-July 15th-8pm CST.

There are several #tlap chats going on right now. I’m not sure about all of the times so here’s the days:

Tuesdays-#elatlap     Language Arts

Wednesdays-#sstlap     Social Studies

Thursdays-#scitlap     Science

Isn’t this exciting???

I’ve downloaded my copy of the book on my kindle, but haven’t read it yet. It is NEXT on my list though and hope to start it by the weekend!!

After the twitter chat tonight Dave had a podcast on youtube with #EDUallstars. IT.WAS.EXCITING.

He talked about his book AND we got to play a card game magic trick. And it worked! OMG! Here’s the podcast if you want to watch it. All you need are 7 playing cards and a permanent marker. Do it. 🙂

Here’s Dave’s blog if you want to read more about this inspiring author WHO IS STILL TEACHING IN THE CLASSROOM. Oh, yeah!

What are you excited about doing in your classroom this year???????????



Notice & Note-Close Reading Book Chat

I’m linking up with Andrea over at Reading Toward the Stars for her Book Talk Thursday!

We had our 2nd twitter chat about Notice & Note-Close Reading by Kylene Beers and Bob Probst tonight. It was fantastic.


Here are the questions that were discussed:

1) What’s your favorite way to connect kids to books?

2) Do you teach novels/chapter books mostly whole class? Lit circles? Readers workshop?

3) What’s the most important thing we can do to help kids become avid lifetime readers?

4) Do you think focusing on the ELA CCSS will help kids become avid lifetime readers?

5) In Part II of N&N, K&B introduce 6 signposts which help kids read closely. How do you define close reading?

6) What’s the most important thing you can do to encourage close reading?

7) The CCSS seems to suggest we haven’t been teaching kids to read closely. What do you think?

8) The signposts in N&N push kids deeper into a text. What’s your reaction to these signposts?

9) How have you taught these signposts to kids & how have kids reacted?

10) What are your Qs to Bob & Kylene about this section of the book?

Lots of good talk was happening! If you want to read the archived information you can go HERE.

You can join our facebook group page for some good conversation as well HERE.

AND you can join us in our 3rd (and last) twitter chat about this FABULOUS book next Thursday, June 20th at 8pm CST. Use the #NNNchat hashtag.

And guess what’s in the works????? Yep. Notice and Note-Close Reading for Expository Texts!!!!!!!!!!! Yippeee!!! 🙂

3rd Annual #CyberPD-Share Your Stack June 12th

This is the 1st time I’ve participated in #CyberPD. I can’t wait to see what treasure gets chosen for us to read and discuss!

I took the following from Cathy’s blog to give you some information about this event, and you can head over to their blogs to read more about it:

Laura Komos at Our Camp Read-a-LotJill Fisch at My Primary Passion and Cathy at Reflect and Refine will be hosting #cyberPD.  CyberPD is an event in which educators read and discuss a shared professional book over a three week period in July.  Our first #cyberPD event was in 2011 and the number of participants has grown each year.

2011 #cyberPD:  Conferring:  The Keystone of Reader’s Workshop
2012 #cyberPD:  Opening Minds
2013 #cyberPD:  To Be Announced

So here’s my stack of PD books I would LIKE to read this summer. Get ready. Do you have your life jacket on? Because you are about to take the plunge. Dive in. 🙂


Voila. HAHAHAHA…..Like I will ever have time to read all of these. BUT-I have read Notice and Note (actually doing a twitter book chat on it #NNNchat June 13th and 20th at 8pm if anyone is interested). I’m reading Word Nerds. And I have read several of these several years ago and want to reread.

Don’t know if this is even possible, but I’m willing to give it a try…. 🙂

Of course, the whole month of June I’m involved with the National Writing Project which on one hand encourages me to read PD books, but on the other hand it’s taking up a lot of time. Well worth it though. Loving it. 🙂

Can’t wait to find out which book is picked for our #CyberPD book study. Always love reading AND discussing books!!!


Notice and Note Book Chat

1 down and 2 to go! Our 1st ever twitter chat was tonight on Notice and Note-Close Reading by Kylene Beers and Bob Probst. It was an hour long conversation with MANY educators contributing their thoughts on this idea of noticing what we read and making note of it!

We were even TRENDING on twitter and that is a BIG DEAL. To me. 🙂


Look on the left side of my twitter page. Yep, we were #2 on trending!

Here’s the archive of tonight’s chat if you want to check it out.

TWUBS No, you don’t have a speech impediment when you say it. It’s really pronounced like that. 🙂

If you haven’t bought this book yet stop what you are doing. I mean like right now. And go to Heinemann and BUY THIS BOOK!! 🙂

It’s one of the most practical PD  books I’ve read in a long time. I’ve coined the term-It just makes sense. 🙂

Join us for our next 2 chats on this book June 13th and June 20th at 8pm CST. We will be discussing Part 2 and Part 3 of the book.

You can also join our facebook group- Facebook Notice and Note Group

Everybody loves a good book party!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!