Vocabulary activities should teach children to use these words in their own writing or their own speech. Although it will take a while for students to learn the words, the ultimate goal of Charlotte's Web activities should be for students to use the vocabulary words.
1. Allow students to choose their own vocabulary words: Like spelling, some children will be on a higher level than others when it comes to vocabulary terms. If you want to individualize or differentiate your vocabulary lessons, then you can use this activity. While students are reading Charlotte's Web, they use post-it notes to write down words they do not understand. They also make a note of the chapter and page number. After finishing a chapter, they review their post-it notes. In their reading response journals, they write down each vocabulary word, the chapter, and the page number. Then they use the context of the novel to write a definition of the word and use the word correctly in a sentence. It is important for you to check these journals often to make sure students have the correct definitions. To make the activity clear for students, give them a set number of vocabulary words they need from each chapter or reading assignment.
2. Create spider webs for new words: A fun activity for students is to take a vocabulary word (or more than one word) and create a spider web with this term in the web (like Charlotte does in the book). To define the word, the student should draw pictures (or cut them out of magazines) of items that the word could describe. For example, if the student's vocabulary word was "triumph," then the student would have a large piece of paper and draw the word "triumph" in the spider web at the top of the paper; and then underneath the spider web, he could draw a blue ribbon, a person crossing a finish line first, an A-grade on a spelling test, and so on.
3. Finding examples in the text: Assign a pair or small group of students a few vocabulary words. Ask them to find quotes or events in the novel that exemplify that word. They CANNOT use the sentence in which the word is introduced. For example, if they are assigned the word "radiant," they would find two or three events or quotes that show Wilbur as radiant and write these down.
Hopefully with these creative activities, students will have fun with new words and start using them in conversations and during other subjects, such as writing workshop.