Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Learning Words

Lee Parrish


After reading, [All Those Secrets of the World] students develop vocabulary by actively defining words using skills other than USING THEIR DICTIONARIES FIRST. This new approach to vocabulary skills is a fun way to “Look up the meanings of words."


The student develops vocabulary by reading independently.

The student uses resources and references such as dictionary, thesaurus, and context to build word meanings.


-Yolen, Jane. [All Those Secrets of the World], Boston, New York, London: Little, Brown and Company. 1991.
-Chart paper
-Markers (at least four different colors: black, green, red, and blue.)
-Example of a Vocabulary Mapping. Enough for each student to get 5 (see attached file)
- Language Arts Notebooks if applicable.
- Computer


1. Gather materials for activity.
2. Make copies of the Concept of Definition Map ( 5 for each student)


1. DAY 1: Write the word jimmies on chart paper in a webbing format in front of the class using a black marker. (DO THIS THE LAST 20 MINUTES OF THE SCHOOL DAY!)

2. Have the students brainstorm what they think the word jimmies stands for. You may have to ask some questions. “Did anyone sleep in jammies last night? Does anyone have a brother names Jim?” Write their responses on the chart, using a blue marker. (ie. type of car, something you sleep in, a boy's name, how to open something, a place you can go on the Internet to order records.)

3. Students copy the brainstorming web on notebook paper. This will be used in their homework assignment.

4. Read the page from the book [All Those Secrets of the World] that contains the word jimmies. (You may want to read the page more than once.)

5. Mark out in red any meaning that the students rule out after reading the passage. Be sure the students edit their brainstorming webs.

6. HOMEWORK DAY 1: Students must “promise, promise” not to use a dictionary. (Explain to the students that there are many different ways to find the meanings of words for example: ask someone, see how the word is used in context, break the word down into smaller word parts.) They are to ask someone, (parent, grandparent, brother, ect.),” What does the word jimmies mean?” They are to write the meaning they think is correct at the bottom of the paper.

7. DAY 2: Give the students time to share their definitions written on their homework paper, orally. Come to an agreement as a class as to what the word means. Edit your web marking out any meaning in green that does not apply to jimmies. Show the students where you found the definition on the computer. Explain to them that there are many different places to get the definitions of words. Now write the defintion of jimmies on the chart in black.

8.Give out the handout Vocabulary Mapping and go over how to do a mapping of the word canine. Model to the students how to do a -Vocabulary Mapping- using the word jimmies on the chart.

9. List 7 words from the book [All Those Secrets of the World] on the chart. Students define all 7 words using the method practiced yesterday with the word jummies. Each student will do a "Vocabulary Mapping" of each word in their Language Arts Notebook. Here are some words to choose from: docks, board, handkerchiefs, perch, tucked, lapped, horizon, and speck.

10. DAY 2: Take up the students' Vocabulary Mappings. Go over the definitions and list words on the chart along with their definitions. Students copy the words and definitions in their Language Arts Notebooks.

11. HOMEWORK DAY 2: Students use their Language Arts Notebooks to study for the vocabulary test tomorrow.

12. DAY 3: Have the students get their Language Arts Notebooks out. Go over the words again orally as a review for the vocabulary test. Be sure to ask the students if there is any word they do not understand or need an additional explanation of.

13. Have the students clear off their desks with only one clean sheet of notebook paper and pencil out.

14. Write these directions on the chart: Write a complete sentence with each word using the meaning of the word as a part of the sentence. Example: Since I like candy, I will put jimmies on my ice cream.

15. After the students have finished take up the test. Ask students if they had trouble with a word. If so go over those words.


The students’ completed Vocabulary Mappings are used as formative assessment.


The students would really enjoy an ice cream party with jimmies!

Web Links

Web supplement for Learning Words
Merriam Webster Dictionary

Attached Files

Vocabulary Mapping.     File Extension: pdf

Return to the Beacon Lesson Plan Library.