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Introduce Vocabulary: The Great Kapok Tree (Cherry)

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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: The Great Kapok Tree (Cherry), 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 The Great Kapok Tree.

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.


Ancestors means the people in your family who lived before you. What’s the word?

Some people like to learn a lot about their ancestors. Do you know what country your ancestors came from?

I’m going to name some people. If you think the people might be your family members who lived before you, say ancestors. Otherwise, stay quiet. Ready?

  • Your great grandmother
  • Your father’s grandfather
  • Your neighbor
  • Your sister or brother
  • A cousin your same age


Dangle means to hang. What’s the word?

The lady wore earrings that were so long they dangled to her shoulders. Do you like to dangle upside down on the monkey bars?

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

  • A swing from a tree
  • Clothes on the clothesline
  • A bush in the ground
  • A flag on a flagpole
  • A trophy in a case


Gash means a long, deep cut. What’s the word?

When the meteor hit the earth, it left a deep gash in a field. I hope you’ve never gotten a gash from a knife.

I’m going to name some items. If you think the item could be used to make a long, deep cut, say gash. Otherwise, stay quiet. Ready?

  • Lettuce
  • Broken glass
  • A knife
  • A tooth
  • A Rubber ball


Lull means to calm. What’s the word?

The movement of the boat on the ocean is calming and might lull the passengers to sleep. Can you lull yourself when you go to bed, or do you need soft music?

I’m going to name some motions. If you think the motion would be calming, say lull. Otherwise, stay quiet. Ready?

  • Gentle rocking
  • The swoop of a roller coaster
  • A slow ride in a warm car
  • Racing on a scooter
  • Roller skating


Depend means to be affected by something. What’s the word?

We might have a picnic tomorrow; it depends on the weather. The grade you get on your projects will depend on how hard you work on them.

I’m going to ask some questions. If you think answer is yes, say depend. Otherwise, stay quiet. Ready?

  • Is a child’s size affected by the parent’s size?
  • Is the sunset affected by when you go to bed?
  • Are the flowers affected by how much rain falls?
  • Is winter affected by what clothes you wear?
  • Are the clothes you wear affected by the weather?


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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