Jun 11, 2013

Word Attack Notebooks ~ "I've Tried It" and "You Can Take It Away"

Yay for Summer and a Double Linky Party!  Today's post is linking up with Holly at Fourth Grade Flipper for Tried It Tuesday and then we're Flip-Floppin' Through Third Grade with Chelsea for a Tuesday Take-Away!

Today I want to tell you about our WORD ATTACK NOTEBOOKS!  I've had so much fun with these.  The idea started as I was reading  Words, Words, Words by Janet Allen.  And then this little ninja guy popped into view and was so stinkin' cute that the idea almost grew out of control!

To get started we first had to set up our notebooks.  We use two notebooks in our classroom, one is our BOOK TALK notebook, the other is our LITERACY WORKSHOP notebook.  While using either notebook, my students could encounter words that need to be ATTACKED, so we needed both notebooks to be ready for battle.  We simply flipped (perfect term for this linky post ;)) the notebooks over so that we were starting from the back of the composition book. The only difference is that the "cloud," white unlined space normally found at the top, will be on the bottom.  We placed cute labels on the covers and glued the directions just inside on the first page of the back of each notebook.  Feel free to grab either or both from my GOOGLE DRIVE if you are interested. :)  By the way...I am aware that "agrizoophobia" is not a real word.  :)  I took this example from an activity also found in Words, Words, Words.  This is a word that of course, no one will know, (because if they did, that would cause a problem) but if you look closely, there are several tricks for figuring out a reasonable meaning using it's parts.  Look closely... :)  Zoo might mean ________________, PHOBIA means ______________________.  Could you come up with a meaning if you had to make an educated guess?  Isn't that what we want our readers to do when they encounter an unknown word?
Once we discussed each attack strategy and our notebooks were ready, we tied our NINJA HEADBANDS (red ribbon) around our heads and got ready to practice.  I know what you are thinking but fifth graders love things like this too!  AND, silliness is unforgettable, therefore they had a connection to this activity that I don't think they will soon forget, which was my main reason for the ribbons...okay, FUN was high on the list too!

Now whenever they come across an unknown word, I hope that they are more likely to ATTACK it than they might have been before.  They have my permission and encouragement to attack as many words in their notebooks as they want, whenever they want.  And, shhhhh....don't tell them, but even if they are being a bit lazy, shall we say, and don't want to write down their strategies, I bet for a brief second, they picture themselves and their friends wearing their head gear and relate back to this lesson even if they don't write it down.  I am also willing to bet that a few attack strategies float through their brains before they simply skip over that new unknown word. ;)

This is just one tier of our vocabulary system in our classroom.  Later this week I will share two other methods of vocabulary instruction that I like to use.  However in my opinion, this is the method that I find most useful.  This DOESN'T give students words to learn, or DARE I SAY MEMORIZE.  It teaches them how to learn new words on their own, as they need them in context.  Isn't that what we actually want them to be able to do in order to be Lifelong Learners?
Take a few minutes to go flippin' and floppin' over and visit Flip-Floppin' Through Third Grade and Fourth Grade Flipper to see other posts that have been linked up on Tried it Tuesday and Take-Away Tuesday!
Thanks for reading today! Enjoy your week!


  1. Excellent post I will be borrowing these ideas for next year in our classroom.I recently added your blog to my blog roll. I've spent tons of time going back to reread older posts-great thinking. Thanks so much.

  2. This is a great way help kids learn how to attack those unknown words. Thanks for sharing what you do!

    Hunter's Tales from Teaching

  3. Oh how I love this idea, Brandee! You are so creative and make learning so much fun!


  4. Excellent idea! Thanks for sharing with us!
    Polka Dot Lesson Plans

  5. Really fun idea! I bet the kids love the ninja aspect of it:)

  6. Great activity, Brandee! Next time you have your kids wear those ninja headbands, I want pictures :) Cute!


    Fun in Room 4B

  7. I can just picture your kids wearing red headbands! What a great motivator! Thanks for the fun idea. I pinned it for next year!

    Mrs. Laffin's Laughings

  8. Love, Love, LOVE this idea! Thanks so much for sharing!

    Mind Sparks

  9. I absolutely love the Ninja word "ATTACK" approach. My fifth graders would love putting on the headbands and practicing this strategy. We do a lot of work with Marzano's vocabulary and context clue practice. This would fit in perfectly :) I'm going to pin this idea for next year!

    Thanks for sharing!

    - Amanda

  10. What a fun idea to get them thinking about words! I just downloaded your pages and pinned it so I would be SURE not to forget. Thanks for sharing such a great idea.

    room 4 imagination

  11. I LOVE this for vocabulary words! What a great way to teach strategies for learning all words. I for sure would have benefited from something like this myself. Totally going to try this out!

  12. Do you wear a headband too :) This is a great strategy. I think some students don't even want to admit they can't read/understand a word. Thanks for the freebie too!

  13. This is just awesome!! I have really tried more approaches like this but none so cool as the "ninja"!! I have pinned for later use and it aligns perfectly with what the Core has been stressing:) Thanks so much for another wonderful idea I can use, Brandee!
    Fourth Grade Flipper

  14. Thanks for linking up. Love the word attack idea!

    Flip Flippin' Through... 3rd Grde

  15. Brandee,

    I am a new follower. I love the idea, it sounds great for ELL Learners, which I see you work with like I do. Do you have an example or could you provide an example? I am very much a visual learner and think the visual of what the journal page would look like, would be helpful.


  16. Oh my goodness I LOVE this idea. Too often I find that my students just keeping reading on and do not really stop and attack the unknown words they encounter. I am so hoping that this strategy will kick that (dare I say it) awful habit. Thanks so much for the freebies, I can't wait to get my notebooks started!!!

    :) Nicole
    Tadpole Tidbits


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