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Save the Words

What it is: Save the Words is a site that celebrates words by “saving” words that are becoming forgotten and left behind in the English language.  I learned about the site today from @BookChook on her wonderful literacy blog.  The site has a simple premise, words are displayed graphically, when your roll your mouse over them they call out to you “pick me”, clicking on a word displays the definition, part of speech, and a contextual example of the word.  Signing up on the site allows you to adopt words.  I love the mission of this site, on the f.a.q. page they state that “Words are the cornerstone of language. The more words we have, the richer our vocabulary. Words allow us to communicate precisely.  Without the right word to describe something, well…we’d be speechless.”  So true, words bring so much color to language, it is a shame to use the same words over and over.  I am certainly guilty of this in my overuse of words like fantastic, outstanding, wonderful, amazing, great, nice, fun, etc.  in blog posts.  Surely there are many more appropriate words that describe the tool I am reviewing more precisely, but we become lazy in language and use words that are easy and we don’t have to think about. How to integrate Save the Words into your curriculum: Save the Words is a site with a beautiful goal, preserving words to keep language rich and powerful.  Most of the words on the site are new to me, but I was surprised at how many of them I could make an educated guess about  meaning based on what I already know about words.  Use Save the Words in your classroom (at any age) to enrich your students vocabulary, help them identify word patterns and meaning clues, and to help them appreciate words.  Choose a word to adopt each day as a class using a class account (adopting a word requires an email address).  Commit to using the word at some point during the day.  My elementary age students loved learning new words, especially words that they found out parents and other teachers didn’t know.  They become the experts.  In my class, I often had a secret word of the day.  I would casually mention what the secret word was at some point in the morning.  Throughout the day if I needed my student’s attention I would ask for the secret word, immediately students were silent with their hands raised to give me the word.  Save the Words would be the perfect place to draw those secret words from. Students could also keep a journal or word list of all of the words they have adopted, I could see this being especially popular with the Webkins age group.  The words are often difficult, but I don’t think that is any reason to exclude them from the classroom vocabulary! Today I adopted the word antipelargy: reciprocal or mutual kindness; love and care of children. Tips: You can sign up for a word of the day delivered directly to your email on Save the Words. Please leave a comment and share how you are using Save the Words in your classroom!

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Picturing the Thirties

Posted by admin | Posted in Fun & Games, History, Interactive Whiteboard, Language Arts, Middle/High School, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Teacher Resources, Virtual Field Trips, Websites | Posted on 11-10-2009

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What it is: Picturing the Thirties is another great virtual web activity from the Smithsonian.  This virtual museum exhibit teaches students about the 1930’s through eight exhibitions.  Students will learn about the Great Depression, The New Deal, The Country, Industry, Labor, The City, Leisure, and American People in the 1930’s.  Art from the Smithsonian American Art Museum are supplemented with other primary sources such as photographs, newsreels, and artist memorabilia.  Students can explore the virtual exhibits complete with museum guides that explain each exhibit to students.  The feature presentation of the museum is a series of interviews of abstract artists describing the 1930’s.  User created documentaries can be viewed from the theater’s balcony.  Students can visit the theater’s projection booth where they can find primary access and a movie making tutorial.

How to integrate Picturing the Thirties into the classroom: I am always amazed by the virtual content that the Smithsonian has produced.  Picturing the Thirties is an incredible virtual field trip to museum exhibits that will put your students face to face with primary resources that will help them understand the events and culture of the 1930’s.  This is SO much better than learning from a textbook!  This interactive site is a great way for students to explore the 1930’s and learn at their own pace.  This site is perfect for the computer lab environment where every student has access to a computer.  You could also take a class virtual field trip to the museum using an interactive whiteboard or a projector.

Tips: Make sure that students have headphones or speakers for this website, there is quite a bit of audio content.

Related Resources: Smithsonian Virtual Museum, UPM Virtual Forest, efield Trips

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Picturing the Thirties in your classroom.

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