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Introduce Vocabulary: Some Birthday (Polacco)

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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: Some Birthday (Polacco), 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 Some Birthday.

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.


Investigate means to study something to find out more about it. What's the word?

When some money was stolen, the police had to investigate to figure out who took it. If you think someone has been in your room when you weren't there, you'll investigate by asking questions.

I'm going to name some things. If you think you'd have to study the thing closely to find out more about it, say investigate. Otherwise, stay quiet. Ready?

  • Your favorite playground
  • Your desk
  • An interesting rock you found
  • A mysterious forest
  • Your pet you've had for a long time


Snarl means to lift a lip and growl at someone. What's the word?

The boy was scared of the dog because it snarled at him. If you're really angry, you may snarl instead of talk.

I'm going to name some animals. If you think the animal might lift up a lip and growl at a person, say snarl. Otherwise, stay quiet. Ready?

  • A fish
  • A beetle
  • A wolf
  • A tiger
  • A pony


Squawk means a loud, sharp noise, like a bird might make. What's the word?

I could tell we were getting close to the bird part of the zoo because I heard a lot of squawks. If you hear two excited people talking, they might sound like they’re squawking.

I'm going to name some animals. If you think the animal might make a sharp, loud noise like a bird, say squawk. Otherwise, stay quiet. Ready?

  • A deer
  • A kangaroo
  • A turkey
  • A crow
  • A chicken


For Advanced Students:

If time permits, have students create more examples of 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 to help students learn the words.

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