After seeing many "vocabulators" online over the years, I finally decided to make one. This word tool can be used in many ways... I decided to create one that contained prefixes (re- and un-) and various base/root words. I filled the container with dyed rice (rainbow colors), foam stars, and star-shaped beads. I introduced the "vocabulator" to students and they all got a chance to try it out. On a different day, when we had a couple of free moments, I asked if a student would tell the collaborative special education teacher, who comes into our room each day, how it is used. The student began by saying, "Well, it's a word builder, and you just turn..." SO, our "vocabulator" had a new name--A WORD BUILDER!
My students simply turn the word builder on its side looking for a prefix and base word that can be put together to make a new word. I also created some activity sheets for students to use with the word builder in our word work station. I plan to change the prefixes as new ones are introduced as well as replace words when we work with suffixes.
To learn more about how to make vocabulators, you can visit the following links, Melissa Forney's Vocabulators (PDF) and Fourth Grade Frolics (directions for dying rice). To purchase a tube like the one shown, visit Melissa Forney's Store.
Finally, to download the word builder activities used by my students, just click here!