Sunday, September 12, 2010

Save the Words - Adopt!

There are needy words out there. Ones looking to be adopted lest they become extinct and end up in one of those esoteric dictionaries sold for half-price at used book stores.  You'll see what I mean when you visit Oxford Dictionary's website Save the Words like


Words such as these are literally screaming to be picked up and used in everyday conversation, business meetings, emails and even text messages. Try the site and you'll see what I mean (and that I used literally correctly in the previous sentence).

In my classroom, I often have a word wall composed of words from a source such as American Heritage Dictionary Editors' 100 Words Every High School Graduate Should Know. This is an informal addition to the words my students are required to learn from the textbooks my school uses. For correctly using the words from the wall in assignments and discussion, students earn extra credit or a small treat from "the treasure box" (a topic I should post on in the future).

I think this could be a fun site for students to visit when we are in the writing center lab or have a few extra minutes in class.  Maybe we could adopt an obsolete word each week to augment our word studies.  Even if students don't have 1:1 computer-to-student ratios, this could be an engaging activity on one class computer, especially if you have an XGA projector. Each we a student could select a word for the class, we could note etymology (unfortunately not provided by Oxford, but I recommend the Online Etymology Dictionary.), and pay attention to roots, suffixes, and prefixes.

Once you and your students go to the site and the words start calling out to you, it will be much like going to the animal shelter.  You'll want to adopt and take that cute little one in the window one home.

If you find a fun and effective way to incorporate SavetheWords into your classes, please share in the comments below.

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