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Dictionary Detective

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Subjects

  • Arts & Humanities
    --Language Arts

Grade

  • 3-5
  • 6-8
  • 9-12
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Brief Description

Build students’ dictionary skills with this fun game.

Objectives

Students

  • reinforce vocabulary, spelling, and alphabetical order skills.
  • build skill at quickly finding words in the dictionary.

Keywords

vocabulary, spelling, dictionary, guide words, alphabetical order, definition, vocabulary

Materials Needed[shopmaterials]

  • dictionaries (one per student or pair of students)
  • a list of 10 spelling or vocabulary words

Lesson Plan

Students should have some skills in finding words in a dictionary in order to play this simple game. The game is, in some part, luck -- but it is also good practice for building speed in finding words in a dictionary. And it's fun!

Take a look at the student dictionary that your students use. How many pages does it have? If you divide the number of pages by 3 you will likely find that
--- the first third of the dictionary covers letters a to f,
--- the second third of the dictionary covers letters g to p, and
--- the last third of the dictionary covers letters q to z.

Arrange students into pairs and present the game to them. Present a list of "practice words" to use as you instruct them in the rules of the game. For example:

Word List
burst
traffic
latitude
weight
float
You might also write these "notes" on the board:
Our Dictionary
Section 1: A to F
Section 2: G to P
Section 3: Q to Z

If all students have a dictionary, have them all try this with you. If you do not have dictionaries to go around, provide a dictionary for each pair of students; have one student in each pair try to open the closed dictionary to the exact page where the word burst appears. Ask students if they think it will be in the first, second, or third section (third) of the dictionary? Since burst begins with the letter b, it will likely be found close to the beginning (the first third) of the dictionary than to the end of it. Walk them through your thought process as you try to open to the word burst. Then encourage them all to do the same. Have them lay their dictionaries flat on their desks, open to the exact page to which they opened

Ask students:

  • In which section of the dictionary is the word burst found -- in the first, second, or third section (third) of the dictionary? (It's in the first section, the one with words that begin with a to f.) How many students opened to the correct section -- the first section, with words that begin with the letters a to f? Tell those students: If you opened to the first section, award yourself a point.
  • With what letter does the word burst begin? How many of you opened to the section of the dictionary that has words that begin with the letter b? If you opened to the b section, award yourself a total of five (5) points.
  • How many of you opened to the exact page where the word burst appears? If you opened to the exact page, award yourself a total of ten (10) points.

So students are awarded points for opening to the correct section/third (1 point), the correct letter (5 points), and the exact page (10 points). Did any students open to the exact page where the word burst to earn 10 points?

Repeat the activity with the other words in the "Word List." How many points did each student or pair of students earn during this practice round of the game?

Now it's time to play the game for real!

Provide a list of ten words chosen from current vocabulary or spelling lists, and let students play on their own or with a partner. As they try to open the dictionary to the exact page for each word they will earn points in this way:

  • 1 point if they open the dictionary to the correct section (third) of the dictionary
  • 5 points if they open the dictionary to a page with words that begin with the same letter as the word
  • 10 points if they open to the exact page

If you have enough dictionaries to go around, each student can earn points for each word. If students must share dictionaries, students can alternate words. With practice, students will get better at finding words quickly in the dictionary.

Assessment

Tally student scores. You might give a prize to the student or pair of students who earned the high score of the day.

Lesson Plan Source

EducationWorld.com

Submitted By

Gary Hopkins

National Standards

LANGUAGE ARTS: English
GRADES K - 12
NL-ENG.K-12.8 Developing Research Skills
NL-ENG.K-12.12 Applying Language Skills

See more Lesson Plans of the Day in our Lesson Plan of the Day Archive. (There you can search for lessons by subject too.)

For additional foreign language lesson plans, see these Education World resources:

Education World®
Copyright© 2005 Education World

11/23/2005



 

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