To begin the school year I teach one word per week. Children need up to 40 exposures to a word before they are able to remember it and apply it to conversations and writing.

This year I will teach the five stances of growth mindset from Christine Hertz and Kristine Mraz’s book A Mindset for learning. These five stances are: empathy, flexibility, persistence, resilience and optimism. 

Teaching these words first fits with the Responsive Classroom’s First Six Weeks of School. Starting from the first day we want students to be building word knowledge and gaining skills for becoming flexible thinkers.

Once I have taught the five stances I will move into character trait words. Again, I will only teach one word per week. Students will have a chance to practice the word of the week during the vocabulary activity each day. (See Daily Activities page for each word learning activity). I will choose the order of the words accordingly dependent on what book I am reading aloud that week.

The grade level character trait list I use is from Patrick Manyak, Professor of Education at the University of Wisconsin. Not only do students learn the word of the week but they also learn 8-10 synonym  throughout the word learning activities.