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Introduce Vocabulary: Are Trees Alive? (Miller)

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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: Are Trees Alive? (Miller), 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 Are Trees Alive?

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.


Anchor means to hold something down firmly so it doesn’t move or get away. What’s the word?

My dad anchored his new little tree with twine so it wouldn’t get blown out of the ground. You can anchor this tent with rocks.

I’m going to name some words. If you think the word means to hold something down firmly so it doesn’t move or get away, say anchor. Otherwise, stay quiet. Ready?

  • Let go
  • Fasten
  • Attach
  • Send
  • Secure


Awaken means to wake up from sleeping. What’s the word?

After a good night’s sleep you awaken to start a new day. If you have a nightmare you might awaken feeling scared and sweaty.

I’m going to name some words. If you think the word means to wake up, say awaken. Otherwise, stay quiet. Ready?

  • Get out of bed
  • Watch T.V.
  • Go to sleep
  • Open your eyes in the morning
  • Listen to a bedtime story


Disease means an illness. What is the word?

All the trees in the forest had a disease that made them turn brown. You’ve probably had at least a mild disease in your lifetime.

I’m going to name some things. If you think the thing is an illness, say disease. Otherwise, stay quiet. Ready?

  • Intelligence
  • Patience
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Arthritis


Harsh means severe and unkind. What’s the word?

A harsh wind blew the birds’ nest out of the tree. If you use a harsh voice with a puppy, he won’t learn; he’ll just be scared.

I’m going to name some things that might happen. If you think the thing is unkind, say harsh. Otherwise, stay quiet. Ready?

  • Some big kids pop a little child’s balloons.
  • Children help an old lady carry groceries.
  • The clerk at the store lends you a quarter when you don’t have enough money.
  • Someone kicks sand in your picnic.
  • People spend the day cleaning up a public park.


Swell means to puff up or bulge. What’s the word?

The lady’s ankles swelled on the airplane trip because she had sat still for so long. Have you ever pinched a finger and had it swell up?

I’m going to name some things. If you think the thing could puff up or bulge say swell. Otherwise, stay quiet. Ready?

  • A balloon when you blow in it
  • A person’s belly when they’ve eaten a lot of food
  • A tea bag dropped in hot water
  • A piece of concrete
  • A plastic toy


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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