In the Trenches

Thoughts and Ideas from a Classroom Teacher

What’s a Gibbit?

on February 17, 2012

In another installment of What Good Readers Do, today we focused on using context clues to find word meanings. I gathered a collection of resources on using nonsense words to help my students practice this. During our 20 minute reading group station rotations, one spot today was at our SMART Board with me. I gave each student a half sheet of white copy paper, cut length wise. That sheet was then folded into thirds. On the SMARTBoard I had five different pages with nonsense words embedded in sentences that helped explain the word. I found some on this Quizlet. students wrote down the nonsense words in each box and their predictions of the word meanings. After we had gone through each of the five sentences, we reviewed them together, comparing answers and highlighting the clues from the text. Finally, I gave the students the word “gibbit.” I told them that “gibbit” could mean whatever they wanted it to mean, but they just had to write a sentence that would convey the meaning. It was a hoot. Some of my favorites included…


The man wore his gibbit on his finger after the wedding.

I put my gibbit on my head to protect it for the football game.

What in the gibbit happened to my car? (We giggled over this one, and this group had a great chat about how many words could go here – and how many of them weren’t appropriate for school. He revised the sentence a bit because gibbit meant “world.”)

We couldn’t believe believe how stinky the man was after he took his shoes off his gibbits.


On our bulletin board of Things Good Readers Do, I added a context clues section with the title “What is a gibbit?” We put some of the students sentences up, folded over so kids can flip up and check if their definitions match their peers sentences.

At the end of the day, we did a quick review as a whole group lesson using this manatee passage. The students then did an independent practice sheet that I graded to make sure they were getting the concept. They did great! And some of my students are even looking forward to reading the book Frindle by Andrew Clements.


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