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Introduce Vocabulary: Where the Wild Things Are (Sendak)

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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: Where the Wild Things Are (Sendak), 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 Where the Wild Things Are.

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.


Gnash means to rub your teeth together really hard. What's the word?

Some people gnash their teeth when they sleep. Your mom will tell you not to gnash your teeth.

I'm going to name some things you might do with your teeth. If you think the thing is like rubbing your teeth together really hard, say gnash. Otherwise, don't say anything. Just sit quietly. Ready?

  • Brushing your teeth
  • Crunching your teeth
  • Squeezing your teeth together hard
  • Showing your teeth to the dentist
  • Chewing hard candy with your teeth


Mischief is naughty behavior. What's the word?

The teacher told her students she didn't want any mischief. You never do mischief, do you?

I'm going to name some behaviors. If you think the behavior is naughty, say mischief. Otherwise, don't say anything. Just sit quietly. Ready?

  • Hiding things from your friends
  • Pulling a chair out from under someone
  • Writing as neatly as you can
  • Keeping your desk clean
  • Drawing on your clothes with markers


A rumpus is a wild party or disturbance. What's the word?

The family had a special room in their house just for when the children wanted a rumpus. If you cause a rumpus, the neighbors might ask you to quiet down.

I'm going to name some behaviors. If you think the behavior would happen at a wild party or cause a disturbance, say rumpus. Otherwise, don't say anything. Just sit quietly. Ready?

  • Sleeping
  • Daydreaming
  • Dancing
  • Loud singing
  • Lots of laughing


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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