The American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) Teacher Webinar Series features in-service suites that can help teachers and home visitors better understand and identify effective teaching practices. Learn why these practices are important, what they look like in action, and how to use them in classrooms and during home visits. Each webinar offers strategies that teachers can use immediately to improve their practice.
Language Modeling and Conversations: Novel Words
Language Modeling and Conversations: Novel Words
AIAN Teacher Webinar Series
Language Modeling and Conversations: Novel Words
Vanessa Maanao-French: Good morning, everyone, and welcome to our webinar. It will actually be our last AIAN Teacher webinar for the year, so I'm glad you're able to join us. I actually see some names that I recognize, so hello to those who I know and have met in person. And to those who I haven't met in person yet, welcome. I'm hoping the weather is better where you are than it is where I am. But the spring flowers that we're talking about helped me think about it really is springtime despite the gray clouds and lots and lots of rain. So let's get started. If you haven't had a chance, be sure to register. It helps us to build our list, to be sure to include you in all of our upcoming webinars. But we'll go ahead and get started. Today we are going to be talking about novel words and how you would introduce advanced language to children. And for those who don't know me, my name is Vanessa Maanao-French. I'm here in the Seattle office at NCQTL, and I'm happy to be with you. This is actually one of my favorite topics, so I hope that by the time we're done, it's one of your favorite topics, as well. Alongside me today virtually is Susan. Susan, would you like to introduce yourself, as well?
Susan Stewart: Yeah, hello, everybody. I am a consultant with NCQTL, and I'm happy to help with the webinars. And I've got to tell you, novel words is one of my favorite things as well, so I'm glad to be a part of this today. If you have any problems, put them in chat and I'll see how I can help you.
Vanessa: Thanks, Susan. It's been a long road with Susan and actually Dawn, who's not with us today, putting together these webinars. And it's been a fantastic journey, I have to say. But Susan is amazing behind the scenes, so, please, if you have any issues along the way, let her know, and she'll be able to help you out as quickly as possible. So actually we're going to start with a video.
Teacher: And this is "proud." Look at that happy face. Look at how the smile is turned up and the eyebrows are up and the eyes are almost closed because they're smiling so big. "Proud" means that they are feeling good about something they did. Like when Robby built an amazing thing out of Legos, he felt really proud of it. And you could tell by looking at his face.
Teacher: What is the person called that draws the pictures? Children: The author.
Teacher: I tricked you. The person that draws the pictures, the il...? Child: The illustrator.
Teacher: The illustrator. What's the name of the person that writes the words? Children: Author.
Teacher: The author. So the author of this book is Daniel Manus Pinkwater.
Child: Whoa, there's a lot of authors. Teacher: There is. Is my hand where? Children: On the top.
Teacher: On the top. And now it's on the...? Children: Bottom.
Teacher: And what part of the book is this? Children: Side.
Teacher: It's called the spine. It's where all the pieces connect together. The spine. This part's the side, and this is the spine. Here we go. "Mr. Plum..."
Boy: Take it off.
Teacher: Take it off. Yeah. It's a Velcro. Take off the Velcro. Take off the Velcro. Boy: Get the—no, boots.
Teacher: Huh? Yeah, it is boots, but it's called Velcro, see? Hear the sound ripping? It's Velcro. They're not buttons. This is a zipper, this is Velcro, these are buttons.
Teacher: Yeah, Velcro. Yeah, Velcro. Here.
Teacher: You did it! You did it! Look it, you can go home and tell your mom and say, "Today I walked through a cylinder."
Vanessa: Oh, I love those videos. Yeah, it's—it looks simple when these teachers do it so naturally, but it does take planning, it does take being really intentional about how you're going to introduce new words to children. And I think my favorite—I think Teacher Mitch is my favorite in so many clips that we have of him, but he was the teacher at the very end who's praising the kids and telling them to go home and talk about how they went through a cylinder. And I—he is so inspiring. He's always so excited that way. The teacher who was talking about Velcro was a teacher from a program up in Alaska, which is lovely, as well. And the teacher with the book is also from Washington State. And I can't tell you who the first teacher was because I didn't get a chance to see her face, actually, but it's nice, because I notice we have some folks who have joined us from Alaska. It's nice to see your names.
So let me keep us moving forward. I get so caught up in the videos. But why I wanted to bring the videos in was to get us kind of thinking about, how do we bring out rich language with children? And these are just some nice examples to be able to share with your teachers. And again, this webinar is based on the content that you already have. You should have an AIAN DVD with this specific in-service suite, so you can share Teacher Mitch with your own staff. So to get us grounded in effective practice, I always bring us back to the house framework. And today we're really focused again on the foundation, as we have throughout this entire series. But I do want to always mention how, without the foundation, we can't have strong pillars and we can't have a roof. So in interactions with children and how we help them interact with another really helps us to be able to gather information for ongoing assessments, to really use our curriculum effectively, and how we can really know our children well enough to individualize for them. So it's always connected. But again, we're going to focus on the foundation today, specifically on instructional interactions, because this is where novel words fits. For those who use CLASS language, this would be under the language modeling. So today this is what I'd like to do. We would like to make sure that we all have a nice understanding of how to extend conversations with novel words to benefit children, to identify conversation opportunities where you can introduce those new words, and finally to share some resources that can assist you or your teachers to be able to use novel words in conversation.
So let's get started. So novel words are a part of what we talk about when we say we want to extend conversations with children. The more we talk, the more they talk, the better they are at using language. It's really that simple. And when we talk about extended conversations, they're back-and- forth exchanges that help kids to practice using some complex language and thinking skills. And for the kids, it's just—you know, it's interesting to them, right? If we're using conversation based on their interest, it's easy to extend and get them to talk more. So we also want to be sure that as we're having these conversations with kids, that we're really thinking about, how can we add new language? How can we encourage children to expand how they use sentence structures? And I think it's important to note that we're not only talking about English. I know programs, and some of the folks I see on the list, you also infuse Native language into the classroom, which is amazing. And please, please continue to do that, do more of that. The more children are exposed to language, the better they're able to—it just builds their brains. I can't even tell you how much it builds their brains to hear new words in both languages and to have them be spoken within context so that they understand how to use the word, what that word means, and it's just such a great experience for kids. So don't hold back with language, is all I want to say.
And the back-and-forth piece is really important. People like to use the tennis analogy. That's one analogy that you can use, because it's back and forth. And it has to—it should be pretty equal in the communication. It's not the child starting a conversation and the teacher takes over, or that it gets redirected in a way that it's no longer interesting or engaging to the child, and so he or she stops talking. So it's that back-and-forth equal communication between adult and child. And that's how we extend conversation.
So when we think about having conversations with children with novel words, it's just one strategy to extend conversation, to promote their language skills. We also want to have those novel words provide children with the opportunity to be exposed to new words. Just hearing the new words in context can really help them to go, "Oh, okay, now I understand where that fits in" within their language, especially if it's embedded within an activity or something that they're really excited about. And these are just some examples of some—maybe some novel words to think about using throughout your classroom. Too often we use the word "angry" or "mad." But maybe the more descriptive word is "frustrated," like one of the words up here on the screen. Instead of something being "small," maybe it's "miniature." So finding those ways to add in these words that are advanced, but kids are certainly ready.
So why it matters. Why am I making this big deal about introducing new words to kids and extending their conversation? It all goes back to research, and I think the research is really just catching up with us as far as what we already know about the importance of teaching at this time in a child's life. What they say to us is that oral language skills are really important for kids as they learn to read, and those effects last, and they see those effects lasting up until third grade. So those kids with strong oral language skills now become stronger readers in kindergarten and beyond. And there's also some link between oral language and math skills, as well. So just talking to children, just having conversations with them is more than just passing the time. It is literally building their brain.
And I want to show you—and you probably have seen this before, but I think this piece of research really does help solidify what I'm saying. And so this is a study that's been done a long time ago, but the impact and the messaging remains consistent. And so in this study that was done by Hart and Risley back a long time ago now, 1995—but again, don't let the age of the study fool you; it's still very powerful—what they did is they followed a group of children and their families from about birth until 3 years of age. And parents were in different socioeconomic levels: we had low-income families, working-class families, and what they called college-educated families, or professional families. And at the beginning, the amount of words spoken to children and the amount of words children received were about the same, right? Think about how we talk to our children when they're really, really tiny. But what this graph is really going to focus on is how many words were the children then able to use, right? What is the cumulative vocabulary of these children based on what they were hearing? So again, they start off about the same, because kids aren't really talking much. But as we move on to about 2 years of age, you're going to start to see this gap widen. And again, it's based on what children hear as to what they then repeat and use themselves. So working-class and low-income families are staying fairly close to one another, with kids speaking just under 200 words within their vocabulary. But you're seeing that college-educated parents, they're getting close to—it's hard to tell with this graph, right—about 300, 400 words, right, already. But then the gap only continues to widen. And this is not about low-income families being less intelligent. It's about the amount of words that are being spoken within the home and the kinds of words that are being spoken within the home. So I wanted to share this with you because this impact lasts forever, and it ends up being 30 million words' difference that children hear between low-income and college-educated families.
And what that difference results in is this, the vocabulary that children go into preschool with. So we're seeing our preschool kids right now at different stages here of speaking about 300 words for low-income children within their vocabulary versus 1,200 words for those kids who are hearing much more diverse, much more dense language, I guess is what we would say. They're hearing a lot of words to be able to use and practice. And talking to kids is free. We can have conversations with kids throughout the school day. Encourage families to have those conversations, as well. I think seeing this and reminding my own self of this research reminds me of the importance of my interactions each day with my own child.
So I'm going to move us on. So extended conversations, we have it split up into different categories here. We want to engage children in thick conversations, and by that we mean that children are talking to you, they're having those rich back-and-forth conversations, right? You're basing it on what they're interested in or the activity that they're currently engaged in. So we want it to be thick. Not just one or two words, but deep conversation. The other thing we want to be able to do, too, is to ask questions. Because the questions that we ask expand children's thinking. I think immediately we go to those "how" and "why" questions, which is exactly what I'm talking about. "Why do you think it worked that way? Tell me what you think will happen next?" Asking questions, prompting thought process, is key to extending conversation. And then finally, expanding what children say. And it's more than just repeating it. Repeating it is good. So if a child gives you an answer to a question, saying, "Yes, that's a great answer," whatever the question was. But saying more, adding more on to it. And we have an example that we'll share with you in just a little bit about expanding what children say. Because what you really want to do is add additional information to help them really develop and refine their thinking and the concepts that they're talking about. And then finally today we're really going to be focusing on novel words. So I just wanted to share this with you, because it's not just novel words that's going to extend conversation. There's all these other components that are equally important. But today we're going to focus on increasing vocabulary and helping children to understand more about how they can use language to express their ideas and also tell us what they're doing, right? Excellent.
So how does this benefit teachers? Well, it provides them an opportunity to embed vocabulary into their everyday interactions with children. So being planful about it helps them to do this. And this is something I know is probably on every school readiness plan, something about language development and advanced language and critical thinking skills. But doing this also helps teachers to kind of gain information about what children know and what they still need to learn or need practice with. So introducing new words helps teachers to do some ongoing assessment. And finally, that assessment helps them to plan for the children. And every group of children is different; every child within a classroom is different. And so this ongoing assessment needs to be ongoing every year and start all over, start from scratch in the fall, right?
So as you're thinking about incorporating novel words into your conversations, just keep in mind and have teachers think about this, too, that it happens throughout the day. It's not just for small group, not just for your large group when you're reading a story. It's at breakfast time, it's when children are lining up to go outside or when they're getting ready for nap or they're stepping on or off the bus. That it really can be—if you think about it ahead of time—a place where you can infuse new words. And it can happen during a variety of activities that are kind of shown here. The small group is here, but you've had a teacher here—actually, she's an ed manager out at Oneida Head Start—helping a little girl put on her gloves. There are so many opportunities in that brief interaction to incorporate one or two new words this child may not have heard before or may be practicing using, as well.
So now I want to give you guys a chance to do a little brainstorming of your own. So we just pulled out three different areas within the classroom, and let's just have fun with this. What are some possible new novel words, advanced language that you might add in these areas? And we've got a little chat box for each of them. We'll play some music for you, so let's go. Nice lists! Yeah, go ahead and finish your words there. Tina, I see that you're still typing. Oh, "spectacular design," that was very worth it. So we were doing this for about four minutes, and, you know, we're a small group here. I just am really impressed with the kind of words that we're coming up with together on a Friday morning, for most of us. But as I kind of sift through them, it just gets me excited about the potential words that children could be hearing during the day. You know, words like "structure" and "blueprint" and "construction" and "gravity," and I love the word "massive," you know, just in the block area. And then over in the sensory table, you know, bringing in words that are really fun that we get to say, like "gooey"; that's a fun word. Thinking about a "stream" of water, to "squeeze" something. You know, these are words that we may think are pretty simple, but when you really think about words kids may be exposed to at home or in the community—I love this word, "porous"—would they hear that word normally? And this would be a great place and a time and a construct from which to learn it, right? What does it mean to be porous? "Evaporating" is a fun word, too. Ah, good list, good list!
I want to switch over to the art one really quick and pull out some that I thought were really, really, really fun. There are certainly words—oh, "abstract," that's so great. You know, and thinking, too, about "shades" of color and how you add "texture." And then instead of just saying it's beautiful—I'm so glad you finished your thought here, Tina. Instead of just saying, "Oh, that's a beautiful picture," which we say so often in the classroom, to say that it's a spectacular design. That's... fabulous.
So the reason why I wanted to have us walk through this activity is that we also have this, the same basic activity for you that's part of the in-service suite, where teachers get to do this on their own, where they can brainstorm in small groups or maybe even just a teaching team within their own classroom. You know, just sit in the block area, look at what they have on the shelves, and create that same list. And then once you have that list, post it on the wall in that area. It's easy to come up with the ideas when you're sitting back and you're planning and reflecting, but then when you're with the kids, right, all those words are like, "What did we say we were going to try to introduce?" Think of those words ahead of time, put them in the centers, let parents and volunteers know what these random words are that are posted in the centers so they can use those words in those centers, as well.
Right? Because kids learn language within context and through relationships that they have with others. So thank you so much for participating. And Susan just placed a quick link to that if you wanted to download that and take a closer look at it today. But again, it is part of your in-service suite. Just wanted to call your attention to it. It's a fun activity. Just do it for five minutes. And, you know, see which group comes up with the most words. It's always fun to listen to the words that others share. And we can also send out this quick list that we generated today during our webinar to you as a quick starter for thinking about novel words in centers. Because again, it comes back to this, right? Are kids hearing those words that we just listed? Porous, gritty, texture, blueprint. These are great words that will add to a child's vocabulary and really decrease—eliminate this word gap where they're not hearing the same amount of words as other children. Because they deserve to hear them, and they're ready for them.
So we're going to give you a quick example. We're going to do a little role-play for you, Susan and I. I think, Susan, you're going to be the kiddo, right, and I'll be the teacher in this situation where we're going to just go back and forth and have a little conversation, and we'll be able to model for you kind of what it looks like to have an extended conversation. Okay, I'm ready, Susan.
Susan: All right. I drew the mom and this one and this one and this one.
Vanessa: I see you drew the mom and then three other people. It looks like this could be your family. Susan: Yeah, and we are outside with all these things.
Vanessa: You are outside playing on the grass. And it looks like it's raining and sunny at the same
time. Together the sun and rain must have created this rainbow. That must be a beautiful sight for your family.
Susan: And here's my letters.
Vanessa: And you wrote your name across the top. I see all the letters of your name, Avery. You also wrote the letters for the word mom. So before—actually, I'm going to pull us back just for a quick second. So you can see how this is a conversation we have often in classrooms. This is very typical, right? A child will come up and go, "Look at my picture, look what I drew!" And it's so easy when we're so busy to be almost dismissive and say, "Oh, that's so beautiful. Do you want to put it in your cubby to take home?" And that's the end of the conversation. When instead, and I'm actually going to flip back through, you can see how what the child is offering are these small sentences or phrases. And what the teacher is offering back is this rich, or what we call thick, response that's full of language, that extends not only what the child says but at times offers new language, right? So you can see just from the amount of words that you're seeing on the page what the teacher's doing.
So now we'd like to offer you an opportunity to do kind of the same thing. If a child came up to you and said, "Look, teacher, I drew it," what might you say in return? Wonderful. Thank you for your ideas. I was typing in some quick responses, my own reactions to what you all have started to share. I see, Kim, you're still—oh, good, "What is making them smile?" You guys are fabulous! These are the kinds of questions or comments that help children start to share with you what the story is behind their drawing. None of us write or draw just for the sake of—well, maybe when we doodle, we do. But there is typically a story that's behind it, some inspiration. And the questions and the comments that you are listing here are about digging in and finding out what inspired you, right, to be able to put this photo together. "I see a sun," "Who's in the picture?" "I see a lot of detail." These are just great comments. Again, this is another activity to bring back to teachers as a teaching team to think about, you know, how would we respond? This could also be a wonderful activity to bring out to parents, because I know children's backpacks go home full of drawings that look a lot like this one, but being able to encourage them to ask their children questions about what they drew. Thinking again about that word gap, right, we know that we're building brains through conversation. Conversations are free to have and they just take a few minutes, but the dividends are huge. So thank you for doing this. And again, offer this to teachers and offer this to families as ways to think about engaging in conversation around a child's interest. Lovely, lovely. You guys are just on fire.
So when do we want to do this? You know, we want to be really purposeful in how we teach the word meanings to children. And we do this when we know that kids are unfamiliar with the word. And so, I mean, just thinking back to the word lists we created earlier, right? Blueprint: do children all know what a blueprint is? But we can find a way to naturally embed that into the block area, right—that was one of my favorite words out of the block area list—by bringing in the blueprints and talking to children about what they're used for, right? And it's good when we're able to use those words in a really concrete way that really enhances their interactions that they're already having. So bringing in a blueprint, laying it on the floor, and have children try to recreate what they see and talk about how blueprints are plans for builders so they know how to put the building together, right? That's a very simple way to say it. And here's another quick example that's on your slide here. "Delicious. That means it tastes really, really good." And I was talking with Susan earlier as we were getting ready to greet you all into the webinar, that this slide always reminds me of my daughter, who when she drinks something now, every time she drinks it, she'll say, "That was refreshing," which I think is just, one, cute, and, two, it's just fun to hear her use these big new words. So as we're giving children the definitions of new words, it's important to keep these things in mind. We want to keep it simple, we want to focus on the characteristics or the attributes of the word, and try not to use other unfamiliar words to define the unfamiliar word, right? That makes good sense.
So let's do a simple example. So we'll use the word "pilot" as a new word. So a pilot is a person. Keep it simple. Focus on what they do, what he or she does, who drives the plane. And there's no unfamiliar words: so we're going to finish the definition by saying, "A pilot is a person who drives the plane and takes all of the people on the plane where they need to go." Simple, right? That's exactly how we want to be able to introduce new words to children as well. So we're going to watch another video, and during this video clip, what I'd really like for you to do is take down some quick notes, because at the end, I'd like for you to type in what are the new words this teacher was using during this video clip with this child?
Teacher: Are you going to do rainbow nails like yesterday? Girl: Yeah, like I did on my friends.
Teacher: You painted a lot of friends yesterday. Remember, we had all those grown-ups come in to the nail shop?
Girl: Yeah, I was painting her nails all day.
Teacher: You had a lot of customers. There's a leftover napkin. Will that help?
Teacher: Want to just get the edges with a dab? There you go. Girl: Maybe there. Maybe a little...
Teacher: There you go. Ooh, that's a nice shade of green. Girl: Mm-hmm.
Girl: It's teensy.
Teacher: It's tiny. That's my smallest finger. Girl: Yeah.
Teacher: Okay, so we're ready to do the other hand? Girl: Yes.
Teacher: Here. Okay, now this is my right hand. Got it. Girl: Okay.
Teacher: Going to start with the thumb? Oh, wait, this one you need to concentrate the color more. It just ran right off my nail. Just load the bristles. You've got it all clean. Okay. There you go. Try it now. See? It worked.
Vanessa: Okay, so tell me what words you heard. I'll give you a couple minutes. Thank you again for your ideas. You know, and I would encourage you, too, to videotape your own teachers and offer the same experience to them, especially if they're practicing adding new words to children. Or to be able to expose children to new language is what I meant to say. But these are great. And I think you really caught all of the words that this teacher, and her name is actually Beverly, a Head Start teacher here in Washington State. She's phenomenal. I actually got a chance to work with her for several years. So what I can tell you is behind the scenes, that this was not a spontaneous conversation for her, that this was part of this child's individual learning goals, was to expand her language. And so it was very planned that she would be using words like "concentrate" and "dab" and "customer." So I think you guys caught those words, but I just wanted you to know this wasn't spontaneous, that Beverly really did come in thinking about, "What words can I add in this activity, because I know this activity is going to draw this particular child in?" And she had this conversation with this rich language over the course of the full video clip, because it was kind of chopped up for us for time's sake. It was about five minutes. So with five minutes of her time, she was able to expose a child to all of the words that you listed here and more. So just wanted to throw that out to you again, as well. It doesn't take long, but it takes intentionality, and it takes a teacher who really is engaged with knowing her children, right? That's where it starts. You have to know your children to plan this way for them.
So some quick tips for incorporating novel words. Be sure the words you're choosing are important for the children to understand an activity, and be really sure that you have a plan about how you're going to use them. You want to provide opportunities for spontaneous conversation, but also know, too, that you want to have those words kind of tucked in your back pocket, right? You've got to know when you want to add them, which is why it's great to be able to have them posted on a wall, so as they come up, you go, "Oh, yeah, that's right, blueprint! We can talk about that today." Expand on what the child knows. So again, this is bouncing out of what they're interested in and extending the conversation. You want to help children to understand their words so that it broadens their critical thinking skills and how they're problem-solving and reasoning. And then you can do this throughout the day and across routines. It doesn't, like I said earlier, start and stop in small group.
And now I'm going to take us to an activity we do lots of times in large group. I think we may take for granted the opportunities that are there. We just kind of move through the motions sometimes. So I thought about this song in particular because it's one of my child's favorites right now, but the song "Itsy-Bitsy Spider." It's something we do all the time, right? I think every—this is like a universal. But are there language opportunities that we may be missing in something that seems so simple? For example, what does "itsy-bitsy" mean? What's a water spout, and what is it used for? Why would the rain wash the spider out? These are questions we can ask children. Let's think about this song we sing every day. And why does the spider climb back up the water spout when the sun comes out, right? Okay, so just thinking about that, that there may be other opportunities that are richer within the books you read to children every day. So taking the time to be really proactive about looking at the words that are within a story and thinking to yourself, "Does a child—does every child in my classroom understand what those words mean?" And if not, how would I provide a definition for them?
And so we actually have another planning tool for you, and Susan will put this into chat as well, that gives teachers an opportunity to be really thinking about the books that they're going to be adding in the classroom for the next week or introducing during large or small group or having special, the new books that have just come into the library shelf for that week or month. What are some of those words that might be new to kids, and how might I be prepared with a kid-friendly definition of how to explain what it is, okay? So that's another tool for you. But the opportunities are not just within the classroom. They're outside the classroom, as well. So thinking about those things that happen within the community that are rich opportunities to bring in language, be that home language or English, into the classroom.
So these are some photos to get us kind of thinking about, what are those things that are coming up, right, that we can start talking about now? So this will be a quick one to share your ideas in chat. Looking at these two photos of a man doing pottery and a child dancing, what are some possible new words you could introduce to children with these photos? You guys are great! I wonder if we have any people who do pottery in our group. These are great words! So thinking about how to bring those back to your own community, thinking about what are those specific ceremonies or activities that happen within your own community that would prompt this kind of energy and response from your teachers? Because if it prompts a response from teachers, then they're certainly going to be inspired to bring this to the children. And, again, this is another place where I think this could be a great parent/family community activity based on literacy, about an upcoming ceremony that's happening in the community. How can we really bring children in and use this as a learning activity to be able to infuse language that's meaningful and to bring in some of that home language as well that's associated with these activities? So please, I hope this inspires you to use photos from your own community to get people inspired, teachers inspired, families inspired about talking to their kids. Because if it interests us, it certainly is beyond interesting to the children. So thank you again for your input. This is great!
We're going to start to wind down, so here are some ideas to kind of take away. Because you want to be able to expand your resources, expand your ideas about how to bring in novel words to teachers and into the classroom. So it starts with identifying those novel words. And we've talked a little bit about that today. You can use each other, use your team of teachers to brainstorm together. Just the activities we did today, I'm sure as you were reading the input from others, like, "Oh, that's a great idea! I didn't think about that word." Offer that as an opportunity to teachers to do that with their co-teachers and with the full teaching team. That'd be an amazing experience. Books that we have sitting on our shelves are loaded with novel words, but sometimes we just read right through them and keep on going. Taking some time to pause and think about those books, those songs, those chants we use, some of those routines that we do every day, are there some hidden novel words that we take for granted, that we could expand on? Think, too, about how you select your classroom materials, and be really mindful of that. You can have, just in your block area there's—I don't know if you can tell it was one of my favorite areas. But what you put in there expands conversation; it inspires kids to think about things. So even having a set of vehicles, right, be they helicopters, airplanes, semi-trucks. What's on the shelves is what kids are going to talk about. It's going to be—yeah, it's going to be what really draws you to talk and to share with one another. If you're in dramatic play, I mean, do you have things for kids to dress up? You probably do. Do you have a stethoscope? Do you have an otoscope, right? These are things that build children's vocabulary. And finally, visual reminders not only for the children but for yourselves, and we talked about taking those brainstorm lists and putting them up on the wall, because we all know it gets busy. But we want to do our best for kids, and so having these helpful little tools for us as teachers can be so valuable. And this is the bottom line. It takes intentionality, it takes planning, and it takes just being willing to pause and to offer these new words to children knowing, again, that the impact is huge, right? So it's well worth our time. But we do need to be really careful and plan how we're going to define these new words within context so kids can then take them away and use them themselves, right? That's our goal, for kids to take in these new words and use them themselves.
So this is one of our last resources that we have available for this novel words webinar, and it's the quick tips. So it is the summary of everything we've been talking about over the past hour, but it's great to be able to put it in a planning binder, send it out to teachers in an email, post this in the classroom for our classroom volunteers. Just a nice way to stay grounded in why we do what we do around novel words. So thank you again, all, for joining us. I really appreciated having you on and your level of activity in conversation. We'll end with some music, and have a lovely Friday.
Research tells us that children’s early oral language skills are critically important and can predict later reading success. Rich, back-and-forth conversations help children develop more complex language, thinking skills, and social skills. Discover ideas and activities for introducing new or novel words into everyday conversations with children. Learn how to engage them in rich conversations.
Resource Type: Video
National Centers: Early Childhood Development, Teaching and Learning
Program Type: American Indian and Alaskan Native
Series: AIAN Teacher Webinar
Last Updated: March 1, 2023