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Weboword

What it is: It can be really difficult for visual learners to get a good handle on vocabulary.  Without good visual aids, the definitions behind words can feel abstract and hard to grasp.  Weboword is a fantastic visual vocabulary site that offers students illustrations that help students understand vocabulary.  I believe that everyone remembers concepts better when they are surrounded by story.  Think about a tsunami.  What comes to mind is probably not a word for word definition of the word but images, and stories about tsunamis.  You probably think about the destruction that they cause, a story you heard from someone affected by a tsunami.  Because we make deeper connections with stories, it only makes sense to offer students vocabulary words with a visual aid that will help them create story references and pictures.  Each vocabulary word is accompanied by a sketch of the word, a definition of the word, a history of the word, the pronunciation, and situational uses of the word.  There is a limited number of words pictured, but it should help students to build up a stronger vocabulary and word fluency.  Each day a new vocabulary word is featured on the Weboword home page.  Students can also review past vocabulary words on the “vocabulary” page.  Students can complete crossword puzzles based on the Weboword vocabulary.     How to integrate Weboword into the classroom: Vocabulary and word fluency is an important ingredient for strong readers.  Begin each day with the newest Weboword vocabulary on your projector or interactive whiteboard.  You can subscribe to Webowords free daily updates to get a word each day delivered to you.  Because the vocabulary on Weboword is limited, you may not find the specific vocabulary you are looking for.  Encourage your students to create their own visualizations and cartoon sketches for the vocabulary they are studying.  Weboword is excellent preparation for the SAT’s but can also be used with younger students to build vocabulary.  My elementary students really enjoy learning “big kid” words.  The advanced vocabulary can make them feel empowered.  Webowords is also a great way to spice up student writing, when they have a greater vocabulary base to pull from, their writing will become richer. Tips: Embed the Weboword widget in your classroom website. Students can get the vocabulary word for the day with one stop. Please leave a comment and share how you are using Weboword in your classroom.

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The Future We Will Create: all the in-between important stuff

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Anastasis Academy, Apply, Character Education, collaboration, Create, Evaluate, Inquiry, inspiration, Middle/High School, professional development, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, TED Talk Tuesdays, Understand (describe, explain), video | Posted on 20-03-2013

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A few years ago I watched the documentary TED: The Future We Will Create.  Being a fan of TED talks, I was curious to learn more about the behind the scenes of TED talks and how the conference came to be.  I had heard snippets here and there that the TED conference was like a boys club…you had to have money and “be” somebody to get into a live event.  The documentary pulled back the curtain a little on the intentionality of the way that TED conferences are set up.  They are intentionally packed with entrepreneurs and successful people from various walks of life to bring together change makers.  The actual speakers may not be well known (at least not prior to the talk), they have a limited time to speak, and they share an inspirational message.  But TED isn’t really about the talks, TED is really about the talks that happen in between the talks.  It is about those serendipitous moments that happen when people are exposed to a shared inspiration and then have opportunity to dream about it together.  The magic is in those moments when people with different perspectives come together and share their thinking from that unique vantage point.  It is really about the in between moments, that seemingly empty and unimportant time.  TED does something else that I wasn’t aware of, they offer one TED speaker a “prize”.  Only the prize isn’t really a prize (not in the way we typically think about prizes), instead it is that this person gets to make a wish.  They get to cast a vision and a “what-if.”  They get to challenge the audience to solve a problem that matters to them.  Then comes the incredible part- these people actually use their unique gifts and talents and perspective to help make it so.  World changing.  A future that we create.  Together.

 

As I was pulling together resources for our current inquiry block about “sharing the planet,” I came across several fantastic TED talks that could act like a catalyst for deeper thinking and additional curiosity.  As I watched each video, I kept thinking about the behind the scenes, the in-between talks that aren’t documented.  The change happening as a result.

Then it hit me, we could do this at Anastasis.  We could watch these talks together, and then allow for the in-between talks.  We could be intentional and let our students engage in the discussion, the serendipitous moments of one thing leading to another, and another.  We could give our students time to just talk and wonder and discover together.  We could narrow it down to 3 or 4 TED talks and provide our students with serendipitous in-between.  We could open up the opportunity for our students to come up with the “wish” or challenge that the others would work to make happen.  We could empower our students to go through this same process and then watch them use their unique perspective, gifts and talents to find solutions and dream up new possibilities.

I’m excited to try this.  I believe that we are in the midst of genius every day at Anastasis.  These kids are really incredible.  I want to see what unfolds when we offer just a little inspiration related to our inquiry and then give them some space to just explore and talk.  I want them to see that when hunches collide, BIG world changing ideas happen.  I want them to understand that they are world changers.

Has anyone else done this with students?

I think that this will be a starting point.  For now we will watch talks.  Next year, I would love to have our students plan their own talks.  I want to invite the best-and-brightest from around the world to come listen to our talks.  I want to provide the in-between moments where change is enacted.

Stay tuned…

Comments (2)

Thanks so much for the behind the scences of TED information. That puts such a different perspective on how the video can be used. I love the idea of trying it with a class. Very interested as to how it goes and the chatter you observe from the students.

YES! I did TED talks with my 2nd/3rd graders this year. The 4/5 class did it as well. It was an amazing experience. My reflection on the process can be found here: http://bit.ly/Y5lZWo

I actually have an idea to collaborate with another school – feel free to contact me if you’re interested.

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