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Using Cartoons in Vocabulary Instruction

Many of my special needs learners are classified as having a 'speech and language impairment,' which basically means that they receptively process (read or listen to) language more slowly or less accurately than expected for their developmental stage or that they do not produce (speak or write) language at the level expected for their grade and age. 

Speech and language impairments are very nuanced and can be difficult to identify and classify, but a common element I have encountered is that many of my speech and language impaired students particularly struggle with vocabulary acquisition.  I also find that my students have not necessarily been exposed to specific content-area vocabulary, so they have little basis with which to make connections.  Students who struggle to learn and retain vocabulary words benefit from visual strategies to connect the words to a larger concept, so with that in mind, I try to use my (limited) fine arts talent to make words concrete and memorable for my students....

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Groundhog Day (Groundhog Day Groundhog Day Groundhog Day...)

Apparently life is imitating art! Just like in the Bill Murray movie, winter will be 'repeating itself' for six more weeks... at leaPunx philst according to Punxsutawney Phil, the world's most famous groundhog!  The tradition of forecasting the weather for the rest of the winter in early February started in medieval Europe with the celebration of Candelmas day.  The English and Scottish have several poems and songs talking about weather forecasting on that day, and how it can predict the end or continuation of winter.  In my class today, we talked about weather and its importance in our lives through different centers during our literacy period, which I will describe for you here, as well as some of the information my students 'dug up' about these meteorologically gifted rodents!  I hope you enjoy reading about our 'flow of the day' for today's literacy activities...

(Photo copyright Flickr user ckirkman)

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