Introduce Vocabulary: “I Can’t,” Said the Ant (Cameron)

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Lesson Type: Introduce
Grade: K, 1, 2, 3
Group Size: Small Group, Whole Class
Length: 20 minutes
Goal: After listening to a fiction read-aloud, students will know the meaning of three Tier Two vocabulary words.
Materials: "I Can't," Said the Ant (Cameron), board or chart paper.

What to Do


Select three Tier Two vocabulary words to teach your students. A list of suggested words appears below. Write the vocabulary words on the board or on chart paper.


1. Introduce the story.

Today we are going to read a story entitled "I Can't," Said the Ant.

2. Introduce the three vocabulary words you have chosen.

Before we read the story, I want to introduce some new words that we will come across. Please repeat each word after I say it.

3. Read the story.

Let’s read the story. Make sure to listen for today’s vocabulary words and to think about how they are used in the story. If you hear a vocabulary word while I am reading, raise your hand.

4. Define key vocabulary words. See definitions below.

Let’s think about our vocabulary words. The word ______________ means ____________. Does anyone remember how this word was used in the text?

Call on students to answer the question. Then refer to the text to show how the word was used in context. Repeat this process for each vocabulary word.


Now let’s practice what we’ve learned.


Cooperate means to work together to get something done. What’s the word?

Astronauts must cooperate to fly the shuttle into space. Can you think of a time when you had to cooperate with a classmate to get your assignment done?

I’m going to name some tasks. If you think you need to work with someone else to get the task done, say cooperate. Otherwise, stay quiet. Ready?

  • Brush your teeth
  • Build a giant Lego structure
  • Write your name
  • Clean up your neighborhood
  • Put on your pajamas


Mend means to fix something. What’s the word?

My mom used to mend my jeans when I ripped holes in them. You can mend an old fence by replacing the broken boards.

I’m going to name some items. If you think you can fix these things with tape or glue, say mend. Otherwise, stay quiet. Ready?

  • A broken pencil
  • A car whose engine has quit working
  • A ripped piece of paper
  • A crumbled up cookie
  • A flat tire


Nimble means quick and able to move easily. What’s the word?

A baby deer leaping over a fence looks nimble. When you’ve practiced on your skateboard for a long time, you are nimble on it.

I’m going to name some animals. If you think they move quickly and easily, say nimble. Otherwise, stay quiet. Ready?

  • A walrus
  • A turtle
  • A monkey swinging through the trees
  • A newborn puppy
  • A fish in a stream


Sling means a piece of cloth used to hold something, support it, or move it. What’s the word?

A heavy piece of furniture might be moved using a sling. If you hurt your arm, the doctor might place it in a sling until it’s better.

I’m going to name some items. If you think the item is sometimes held up with a piece of cloth, say sling. Otherwise, stay quiet. Ready?

  • Your hat
  • A broken arm
  • A newborn baby being carried by its mama
  • An animal being moved to a new home
  • A bowl of cereal


Trickle means to move slowly, a little at a time. What’s the word?

When ice melts, the water moves at a trickle. When you turn on the water to brush your teeth, just let it trickle out of the faucet so you don’t waste water.

I’m going to name some things that move. If you think they move very slowly, say trickle. Otherwise, stay quiet. Ready?

  • People rushing to see a great movie
  • Water leaking from a faucet
  • A stream in spring that’s been covered in ice all winter
  • The ocean
  • Blood from a tiny cut on your finger


For Advanced Students:

If time permits, have students create more examples for the vocabulary words.

For Struggling Students:

If time permits, have students record the words on a Vocabulary Discovery Chart or in a Word Journal.

For ELL Students:

In order to help ELL students learn the words, it may be helpful to use realia and/or to teach cognates.

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