The district I teach in is currently using a hybrid classroom model of instruction. This means that I have my students two days a week, and they are completing at-home learning the other three days. There are SO many challenges with this setup but honestly, there are just as many benefits! Here’s how I structure my weekly elementary vocabulary units in order to make my students’ vocabulary acquisition meaningful, yet efficient. I’m using my year-long vocabulary curriculum, but you could use this model and pacing with lots of different programs! Teaching elementary vocabulary in the hybrid classroom model does NOT have to take a ton of time or preparation!
Day One (in the classsroom)
Day one when students are with me, we go over the word list for the week. I like to use a PowerPoint to introduce each elementary vocabulary word, the part of speech, the definition, a picture, and example sentence. This way, by introducing vocabulary words, students hear me say each word AND use it in context. All-in-all, this doesn’t take more than ten minutes tops. Students follow along on their copy of the word list as we go through. This also allows them to ask questions and gives YOU a chance to clarify any confusion!
Day Two (in the classroom)
On the second day that students are with me, I have them do some sort of interactive practice with the words. Obviously, this would ideally be partner or small group work, but since that’s not possible they work on it independently at their seats. It varies week-to-week depending on how much time we have, and the difficulty of the words. The goal is to have them working with the words in an interactive setting, while I walk around and assess how they’re doing. This gives me the opportunity to correct any glaring misunderstandings while they’re still in the classroom. Again, this does NOT have to take a ton of time. Fifteen to twenty minutes is plenty. I use it for morning work! Vocabulary words for grade 4 and grade 5 can be very tricky, so I find teaching vocabulary in context, mixed with explicit vocabulary instruction is the best way to go.
Here are some of the activities I’ll use:
- Matching Game
- Board Game
- Headbandz Game with the words/definitions
Day Three (at home)
Right now, I’m having my students complete mostly paper copies of activities. In a perfect world, they’d complete these digitally to cut down on the transfer of papers from school to home and back. (We’re getting there!) For day three (which is their first day at home) I have them complete an elementary vocabulary reading passage with blanks that they need to fill in with their vocabulary words. This combines some comprehension, context clues, AND word definitions! Right now I’m having them send me a picture of the completed passage so that I can check their work. In the future – they’ll submit it digitally!
Day Four (at home)
The second day at home (day four of the week), I’ll have my students complete a vocabulary coloring sheet. They answer questions based around the word list, and then color the picture based on their answers. Again, it gets them using their new vocabulary in different ways. I’ll have them send me a picture of their coloring page, which immediately shows me if they got the answers correct!
Day Five (at home)
For day five (their last day at home) I have them complete a set of Boom LearningTM digital task cards. These are SO fun and they give the students immediate feedback. You can either have the students complete the task cards for a grade, or just let them practice as many times as they need. When you assign the deck to your class, you can see each students results too which is awesome. This activity allows students some more interactive practice using the words on their last home learning day.
One tip to make your life even easier would be to have students complete three activities on a vocabulary choice board on their three days at home. This creates less paper travel and gives the students options of which activities they want to complete! You can click here to check out my digital and print vocabulary choice boards.
And that’s it! I have the students take an assessment on the day they return to me. Teaching vocabulary in the hybrid classroom model does not have to be complicated! This schedule is obviously not super ideal, but it is what has been working for me and my students!