By Amy Weisberg, M.Ed.
Amy Weisberg, M.Ed.By Amy Weisberg, M.Ed.      November 27, 2020

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In my TK and Kindergarten classes, I introduce a new vocabulary word each day. We call it the “Word of the Day.” It is a way for me to help the children expand their vocabulary and inspires children to share their ideas using the new words. Words enable us to convey our thoughts, express our feelings and ensure that we understand people and they understand us. As the children learn new words, they learn to express themselves orally and, eventually, in writing. When I introduce words, we begin with a simple word that they already know, such as “eat,” and then introduce others that expand on the meaning, such as “starving” and “famished.” It is fun to have discussions where each child takes a turn coming up with a sentence using the new word; it’s even more fun and rewarding to hear them use the new vocabulary later in other contexts. I’ve been teaching vocabulary for a long time, but recently, I’ve been reminded of how important word choices are and how important it is for us to think about what we want to say, or write, prior to doing so. On November 7 the world had the opportunity to listen to the victory speeches of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. For many, it was a happy, emotional, long-awaited moment and their words had an impact, especially as they were so obviously polar opposites to those we have been hearing for more than four years. We watched and listened as the speeches warmed our hearts and filled us with hope for a better future. My yoga teacher, Holli Rabishaw, created lists of the inspirational words in both speeches. I also read the transcripts of each speech to revisit what I found in the context of those words that inspired me to create “word art” reflecting our highest hopes for a united America. Teaching children about words is a way to not only expand their vocabularies, but also a way to engage children in discussions. Reading empowers children to write and leads to them feeling confident to express through their own words. Some of my favorite children’s books—many gifted to my daughters by my mother, who managed a children’s bookstore for moWords enable us to convey our re than 20 years— gave my children the idea of the importance of words, and something I can pass on to my students.
Amy Weisberg, M.Ed.
      November 27, 2020

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