Friday, 3 January 2014

Word of the Day- Why these words?

I have a bit of a pet peeve with some "word of the day" word lists, specifically for the upper elementary and early high school levels. It seems that oftentimes the words on these lists are either too simple for the indicated level, or are entirely the opposite and are such rarely used or specific words that students do not gain any advantage by learning them. Therefore when I created my "Word of the Day" package for levels 7-10 I had some specific criteria when choosing the vocabulary I included.
  • Expository Language: I was careful to include words that are especially useful when writing expository essays. Having words such as despite, necessitate, disclose, evident, dictate, tertiary etc. in their vocabulary will help students as they work to improve their essay writing skills. 

  • Everyday Language: This is the vocabulary students will come to encounter on a daily basis, wether it be in conversation or reading a newspaper. Words such as bias, discern, evidence, hierarchy, and animosity are common vocabulary that students will need to apply from everyday discussion to understanding global events. 

  • Language for Creative Writing: This is often considered the 'fun part' of learning vocabulary. Descriptive words such as furtive, evanescent, measly, and aloof help to bring colour and description into creative writing pieces and aid in the enjoyment of reading fictional literature. 

When creating this package I also thought of ways that I could work around some common deterrents for adapting a word of the day activity. With all the wonderful activities that go on inside a classroom it can be hard to find the precious wall space for a yearlong activity amongst the classroom charts, blackboards, bulletin boards, and student work. Instead, why not try a paper chain? Add a word each day, or alternately make the chain at the beginning of the year and snip of a word a day as you learn it. 

It can also be difficult to continue to engage students as the year progresses with a repetitive daily activity. I chose to include classroom and student milestone stars. These are milestones of 50, 100, 150, and 180 words that the class has learned, a large star for the class word wall and the small ones for students to glue in their worksheet book. Sometimes knowing how far you've come with a project is enough motivation to continue.

If your looking for a "word of the day" activity package for your students, download the preview file from my Teachers Pay Teachers store and see if it might suit your needs.

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