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The Learning Network is Holding a 15-Second Vocabulary Contest for Students

Posted by Marygrove MAT on Oct 14, 2014 10:46:59 AM

learning_networkI just found out via Richard Byrne that the The New York Times Learning Network is holding its second annual 15-Second Vocabulary Contest. This contest, which is open to anyone between the ages of 13 and 19, asks students to create a video in which they pronounce, define, and illustrate—using animation, drawing, acting, claymation, stop-motion, whatever—the meaning of one of the Learning Network's Words of the Day.

Submissions are due by November 11. Complete contest rules are available here.

To give you a sense for what the Learning Network is looking for in submissions, check out last year’s winning video created by Sam Jenks.

Spooky Story Starters Guide

Tags: vocabulary building, vocabulary enrichment, vocabulary contest

Dead Words: A Halloween-Inspired, Vocabulary-Building Activity

Posted by Marygrove MAT on Oct 2, 2014 9:44:12 AM

We’re always looking for creative ways to help our students build their vocabulary and this morning, we came across a new one that’s perfect for the Halloween season! Dead Words is a vocabulary-building activity that’s as spooky and cute as it is effective.

Here’s how it works: First, the class brainstorms words that they overuse—words that are vague, dull, and don’t help us communicate very effectively. Once you settle on your “dead” words, write them down on slips of paper and temporarily “bury” them in a container.

Every week, select one “dead” word from the container and ask students to think about how they use it: is it a verb, an adjective, or an adverb? Next, students will use the classroom thesauruses to look up the word and find 10 alternatives.

Once students have their list, they create gravestones. Now you’re ready to hold a ceremony to say goodbye to the dead words and bury them once and for all!

Happy Halloween! And happy vocabulary-building!

vocabulary building

We'd like to thank The Inspired Classroom for this awesome vocabulary-building idea!


The Reading Playbook, a teachers guide to success

Tags: reading instruction, vocabulary building, vocabulary enrichment, reading fluency

Rewordify makes vocabulary building and reading comprehension a cinch

Posted by Marygrove MAT on Aug 29, 2013 6:00:00 AM

vocabulary building reading comprehensionThanks to one of our Edmodo buddies, we just learned about a new vocabulary building and reading comprehension application called Rewordify.

Say your students are reading an article online and find themselves stuck on a difficult paragraph. No problem. All they need to do is copy and paste the paragraph into the yellow box on the Rewordify homepage.

With the click of a button, Rewordify instantly creates an easier version of the original paragraph. Challenging words are “rewordified” and highlighted; now all you need to do is simply hover your mouse over (or finger-tap) the highlighted words to see the original versions. Here’s an example of what Rewordify will do:

Original paragraph:

I am enraptured by enthralling personages, although methinks thou art irked by their pleonastic pontifications. Dictionaries do not suffice for many people. These sentences are eccentric non sequitirs.

Rewordified paragraph:

I am very interested in fascinating people, although I think you are irritated by their overly wordy snobby lectures. Dictionaries are not good enough for many people. These sentences are weird non sequitirs.

Rewordify also allows users to customize settings. Say, for example, that you want to leave the hard words as they are instead of automatically “rewordifying” them. No problem, you have several options:

  • Leave hard words as they are, but highlight and click to see easier words
  • Show the original text with no highlighting (a mouse tap still reveals easier words)
  • Show the original word in purple and the easier word in yellow
If you’re looking for more websites and applications to supplement your reading curriculum, check out a few of our recent blogs, Two essential websites for reading teachers, 5 Simple Ways to Increase Independent Reading Time, and 5 Ways to Become Reacquainted with Your Inner-Reader

Guide to Reading Comprehension

Tags: reading comprehension, reading strategies, reading comprehension strategy, reading motivation, reading instruction, reading specialist, vocabulary building

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