The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree
By: Gloria Houston
embroidered: (to sew decoration onto fabric)
synonyms: adorn, embellish, stitch
rustled: (making a swishing sound)
synonyms: crackled, crunched, swished
heed: (to pay attention to advice)
synonyms: observe, notice, take note of
wondrous: (so good or admirable as to inspire wonder or awe)
synonyms: amazing, extraordinary, astonishing
benediction: (an expression of approval or good wishes)
synonyms: blessing, approval, sanction
Write words on Word Wizard chart. Reread aloud the parts of story containing the
vocabulary word. Use the definitions above to reiterate what each word means.
Word Wizard Chart: Show the students the Word Wizard Chart. Say each word on the
chart. Students repeat the word after you. Give an example and gesture for each word. Let
them know that they will be learning about these words throughout the week. You will
record a tally mark on the chart when you hear students correctly using a vocabulary word.
Word Associations: After presenting explanations for each vocabulary word, ask students
to associate one of their new words or phrase.
Turn and tell your partner….
Which word goes with giving someone your approval? Why? (benediction)
Which word goes with the way leaves sound when they are blowing around? Why? (rustling)
Which word could be used to describe a pillow that has fancy things sewn on it? Why?
Which word goes with taking notice of someone’s warning? Why? (heed)
Which word goes with what your Christmas tree looks like all decorated? Why? (wondrous)
Created by Anne Coletti/Bardmoor Elementary/Reading Coach
Point to the word embroidered on the chart.
Say: If what I say describes embroidered, pretend you are sewing something and say
“embroidered!” If not, just remain quiet.
- Your mother sewed a pretty pattern onto your jeans
- Buying a pillowcase
- Your grandmother’s handkerchief with beautiful stitching on it.
- Painting a picture on your t-shirt
Point to the word rustled on the chart
Say: If what I say describes rustled, move your fingers back and forth like they are leaves
blowing around and say “rustled”. If not, just remain quiet.
- Walking on a pile of leaves
- Tip toeing through the house
- Roller skating at Astro Skate
- Balling up wrapping paper
Point to the word heed on the chart:
Say: If what I say describes heed, make glasses with your fingers (so that they are
noticing something) and say “heed!” If not, just remain quiet.
- Listening to your teacher talk about safety
- Watching cartoons
- Your parents telling you to be careful
- Collecting rocks
Point to the word wondrous on the chart:
Say: If what I say describes wondrous, put your hands in the air and say “wondrous!” If
not, just remain quiet.
- Watching your sister play with her toys
- Watching Fourth of July fireworks
- Observing the lighting of the town’s large Christmas trees
- Washing dishes
Point to the word benediction on the chart:
Say: If what I say describes benediction, cup your hands over your mouth like a mega
phone and say “benediction!” If not, just remain quiet.
- Your parents letting you go to the dance
- Your teacher telling you can have a class party
- Doing the opposite of what your teacher said to do
- Taking a walk around the block
More of Day 2 on the next page
Questioning, Reasons, and Examples: students turn and talk with a partner.
You hear leaves crackling in the backyard. What word describes the sound? Why?
You see a fantastic light display in your neighborhood. What word would describe
Your grandmother sews an elegant pattern on your shirt. What word describes what
she is doing? Why? (embroidered)
The principal gives you her approval to have a class party. What word could be used
to describe what she has given you? (benediction)
Your father tells you not to talk to strangers. What word describes this? Why?
Word Wizard Chart:
Say each word on the chart. Students repeat the word after you. Review the student
friendly definitions for each word.
Have students turn and talk with a partner.
You see something fantastic on TV. Would that be an example of wondrous or
You are told not to ride without your helmet. Would this be an example of heed or
Show the students the Synonym Stretch Chart. Read aloud the words at the top of the
chart. Read one synonym. Students work with a partner to identify the synonym that
matches the vocabulary word.
Embroidered Rustled Heed Wondrous Benediction
Put these on index cards and mix them up.
Crackled, crunched, swished, adorn, embellish, stitch, observe, notice, take note of,
amazing, extraordinary, astonishing, blessing, approval, sanction
Day 4: Vocabulary Graphic Organizers: Work on this the
first time as a whole class. Have students turn and talk to help
come up with the answers. Students will name things that are
examples of one of the vocabulary word. Write the named items
in the top part of the organizer. Then students will name things
that are not examples of the vocabulary. Write those thoughts
on the bottom part of the graphic organizer.
Seeing the Grand Canyon Fireworks on the
Fourth of July
a Christmas tree Winning a years worth
lighting ceremony of candy
seeing a homeless a house burning down
watching sad news on getting failing grades
the TV on your report card
(blank graphic organizer follows day 5 activity)
Day 5: Vocabulary Check:
Review the words on the Word Wizard Chart. Reread the
sentences from the text to the students.
Teacher models how to complete a cloze passage with the first
paragraph. Scaffold the next passage by having students turn
and talk to their partners to figure out where the words go.
embroidered rustling heed wondrous benediction
What a _____________ site to see the lights in New York City at
Christmas time. You can hear the ___________ of the last of the fall
leaves on the ground. I mad sure I brought the new jacket that my
grandmother ______________ special flowers on for me. My parents gave
me their _____________ to go with my uncle to see the sights. But they
told me to _________ their warning not to talk to any strangers.
Crossword Puzzle (review of some previous vocabulary words included)
rustled, wondrous, embroidered, frantically, heed, scurry, ordinary, elegant,
Created by Anne Coletti/Bardmoor Elementary/Reading Coach