How to Teach Vocabulary - Nursery Rhymes

› Nursery Rhymes

Simple nursery rhymes are a perfect way to teach academic vocabulary.  What I love about this activity is that it works for kindergarten through high school. 

Here's how to do it.

Choose a simple nursery rhyme, such as "Three Blind Mice" and challenge students to replace as many words as they can with synonyms that are more sophisticated.

I did this as a whole class activity a number of times before providing a gradual release to small groups. Here is what we came up with:

Three blind rodents.
Observe how they scamper.
They all hustled after the farmer's missus,
She hacked off their appendages with a scimitar.
You never could imagine such a spectacle in your life!
Three blind mammals.

Look at the academic vocabulary used in this lesson: scamper, hustled, scimitar…not to mention the adjectives and a great lead in to classification of animals (mammals - rodents - mice).

I obviously guided this and we used an online thesaurus, but my second graders did use their background knowledge to relate to these new words.  Now I am also seeing them pop up in their writing and hearing them use them in conversations!

Go back to How To Teach Vocabulary Page 1

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