K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education


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Learning outcomes

The children will learn to use a dictionary by alphabetic listing, select from that dictionary needed information, and write the necessary information in the correct space on a definition form.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

45 minutes


  • Age-appropriate dictionaries for each two children
  • Classroom bucket filled with age-appropriate words
  • Attachment #1: Teacher’s transparency for introducing the lesson to the children.
  • Attachment #2: Worksheet to be used by the children during the activity


  • Students working in a 4-Block, Word Wall classroom will already be versed in word and definition activities. Those who are not in a 4-Block classroom should be so versed.
  • Students will benefit from having prior experience working in pairs, with one child being responsible for one duty (reader) and the other child in the pair being responsible for another duty (writer).


  1. Introduce the activity to the children using the overhead projector and the transparency.
  2. Explain to the children that they will be using the same type of design to find the meaning of a word and a sentence using the word they choose from the classroom word bucket.
  3. Each pair of children will then take their word, dictionary, and worksheet to the area of their choice.
  4. The children will be allowed to choose which child will be the ‘reader’ and which will be the ‘writer.’
  5. After the children have completed their worksheets, each pair of children will report to their classmates the word, definition, and sentence written on their worksheets.


  • Teacher observation during the work session will be documented in anecdotal records.
  • Worksheets will be assessed by the teacher for correctness and the children’s understanding of the task to provide a concrete form of assessment of this lesson.

Supplemental information


This activity is more appropriate for the second semester of first grade.

  • North Carolina Essential Standards
    • Information and Technology Skills (2010)
      • Grade 1

        • 1.SI.1 Recall useful sources of information. 1.SI.1.1 Identify various resources for information (e. g., print, audio-visual, electronic, people). 1.SI.1.2 Classify resources as relevant for a given purpose and/or topic.

North Carolina curriculum alignment

Information Skills (2000)

Grade 1

  • Goal 1: The learner will EXPLORE sources and formats for reading, listening, and viewing purposes.
    • Objective 1.06: Demonstrate familiarity with a variety of types of books and resources (print, non-print, electronic).