Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Happiness is... Building Vocab with Class Books!

Hi, Teaching Friends!

Do you remember the Peanuts cartoon, "Happiness is a warm puppy"?

I didn't know until today that the "Love is..." cartoons by Kim Casali are still being drawn. My sister-in-law drew one on a cake for us when I was first pregnant back in (gulp!) 1978! Our newspaper doesn't carry "Love is..." , so I haven't seen those sweet little things in years.

I was thinking about both of those cartoons today, and how they can provide a format for class books. What a great way to extend your students' understanding of new vocabulary!
Let's say you're teaching one of these words.
Not the easiest words to explain, which is why we usually resort to using examples. Creating word pictures to define these terms makes them memorable for us, and writing & illustrating based on their own experiences makes them even more vivid for students. Think about examples like these.
" Independence is tying your shoes by yourself."
"Ambivalence is deciding whether to have chocolate or strawberry ice cream."
If each of your students writes a sentence to define the word and then illustrates it,  you've got a great bulletin board display. But why not keep the learning going by making a simple cover and binding the pages into a class book? You might like to use this template. Or, keep it even simpler and just give your students  a half sheet of picture/story paper.
Think of the great examples your students will come up with for these adjectives.

" Optimistic is believing that it will snow today."
"Inquisitive is when my little brother spread butter on the bottom of his shoes because he wanted to know if he could skate with it."
This could easily be carried over into content area vocabulary. Science words, math terms, and how about character education?

Can you tell that I was having fun making these word collages?
I hope you'll find a new way to incorporate this writing experience into your vocabulary instruction.
Please leave a comment to share your idea with us!
Happy Teaching!


  1. This is a great idea! I love that it can be used at all levels and would make a huge difference in vocabulary usage for our students!

    1. I'm glad that you'll be able to use this, Janine. So nice of you to comment!



  2. Hello this is awesome blog. You have really did very well in this blog.
    It has a lots of information.
    Thank You so much.
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