Mad Dictionary Skills ;)

Okay…so my kids don’t have them YET, but they have been introduced to this wonderful little resource.  Resource is a BIG word in my class.  My kids know that if they’re having trouble with something, they need to use a RESOURCE for help.  Lately, they’ve been really curious about words and their meanings.  I LOVE that!!  When they’re reading to self, I’ll often have kids who bring their books to me and say, “what does that mean?!?!” as they point inquisitively to the word in question.  While I really try to encourage them to use their context clues, sometimes word meaning can be a little tricky to figure out!  SO…it was time to teach my kids how to USE the dictionary because, as we all know, it’s an invaluable RESOURCE!! 


We did a little SmartBoard lesson on guide words & definitions.  I didn’t want to get TOO in depth…just wanted to start them off with the basics!  Of course, my firsties are pretty well versed in ABC order, so we did a few little ABC order activities and transitioned right into using guide words to find different words.  After we did this a few times, I split the kids into groups of 2-3 & gave each little group a dictionary.  I also handed each group a word card.  Their objective was to find the word {using the guide words as a reference} and then read the definition.  Once they located all the info, they had to write down the word…guide words…page number…and definition. {I definitely differentiated this activity!!  Some of my babies were given very “easy cheesy” words while some of my GT’s were given “big” words :)}


I had the kids write all the info on kite bows and illustrate the word/definition on a kite.  They had SO much fun with this activity!! 



I now have kids asking if they can “read” the dictionary during D.E.A.R Time or Read to Self.  HA!!  They’re even BEGGING me to give them words to find.  I can feel a new little center comin’ on quick!!!  I love it when they get excited about learning!!


  1. Girl... you are a creative genius!!!!!! Seriously..This is such a cute idea!!! I LOVE IT!! Where did you get your dictionaries like that at?


  2. Love the kites! Those are super cute!
    I also taught my little firsties about dictionary skills today, but in an inadvertent way. We are making a movies about adjectives. The first step prior to creating storyboards was a whole group activity writing a list of adjectives for size. They had to check their word by typing it into a dictionary app on an ipod touch to make sure it was a real word and that we were spelling it correctly. They found out that humongous and colossal were real words. The entire class had to "stretch" (actually making two fist pulling apart) for each sound to help find out what letter to type into the dictionary next. Don't you love it when they are excited about learning? :)

  3. Elisabeth...I'm not sure where we got them?!?! They were provided for us by our district :) It's a Children's Dictionary :) Really wonderful!!! I bet you could find them on Amazon!!

  4. I used dictionaries in a literacy station at the end of last year. They had to write the word they looked up and its definition. The kids were really into it. I love the kites!

  5. Love this! You have just turned a skill I've never really been fond of teaching into an exciting lesson! Thanks!! Is this scrapbooking paper that is behind the kite?


  6. I love this idea! I am going to use it when we read The Kite next year.

  7. What a cute idea. Thanks for sharing.


  8. Love, love, love, this idea! I am going to have to try this. Thanks for sharing!

  9. We are making kites tomorrow!! Ours will be sight word kites, but they'll be a nice change from the SNOWMEN that are still adorning our bulletin board... oops! :-)


  10. That is awesome! Would you be willing to share your SMARTboard activity too?

  11. Adorable!!! Will definitely be using with my Firsties :)
    Thanks for sharing!!!!


  12. Dear First Grade Parade,
    Your blog is a very exciting place and inspiring. I do have a technical question for you that I hope you can answer? I have a website ( that I've had for a while but am starting a blogspot blog. In your more recent posts there are cute white borders around your pictures with a shadow on the right, how do you get it to do that?
    Jennifer Jones

  13. So jealous that your district provides dictionaries...I only have two picture dictionaries in my room and that's it for dictionaries :(

    Cute ideas!


  14. How in the world do you teach first graders guide words when my
    2nd graders struggle with that concept? Any suggestions would be great!

  15. Kids LOVE words! After all the research I have done on vocabulary development and acquisition, I am so excited to start a vocabulary program next year! My 3rd grader was introduced to words this year by her amazing teacher and she is learning and using words that are new to me! How exciting for your kiddos that you are teaching them this skills at a young age!

  16. really enjoy your blog and so...
    I'm awarding you the Stylish Blogger Award!
    Just link back to my blog from yours and follow the directions posted there!

    K is for kindergarten

  17. I love, love, love your blog. Is there a way you can send me your format for the tissue boxes so I can create my own? My e-mail is

    Thanks so much,

  18. I love the kites! Girl, now I am inspired to pull out my dictionaries.