Build vocabulary skills, spelling skills, literature awareness, thinking skills, and more with daily fun. Make it a goal to work one of these websites into your lesson plans in the year ahead!
Editor's note: Daily reinforcement of basic skills can go a long way toward ensuring that kids learn and retain the skills you teach. You'll see the results of daily reinforcement in end-of-year test scores too! This week, Education World highlights a couple of dozen websites that are perfect resources for developing activities to reinforce needed skills on a daily basis!
In this article, you'll find "every day" resources connected to language and literature. If you're looking for additional "every day" ideas, don't miss Education World's other two LESSON PLANNING stories this week: "Every Day" Activities: Today in History (including activities and resources to develop students' knowledge of current events, history, and culture) and "Every Day" Activities: Potpourri. (Check out the introduction to the "Every Day" Activities: Potpourri story to learn more about the benefits of daily skills reinforcement.)
This is a fun site for kids of all ages from the dictionary people at Merriam-Webster. Each day a new word is presented. A definition and a sentence with the word used in context are offered. Finally, readers can take a multiple-choice quiz to find out if they really understand the meaning of the word. If your classroom computers are equipped with sound, students can click the "hear it!" button to hear the word pronounced. The Daily Buzzword is available free on a subscription basis; sign up and you'll get an e-mail each day. The Buzzwords for the previous 30 days are also available in an archive, so teachers can pick and choose words if they prefer. Among the words recently posted to this Web page were cacophony, adroit, newfangled, and null. Following is the entry that appeared recently for the word blandish.
What does it mean? : to coax with flattery : cajole
How do you use it? Sam thought the best way to convince his mother to let him go to the movies would be to blandish her, but she proved immune to his charm and compliments.
Are you a word wiz?
Who do you think was one of the first writers to use "blandish"?
If you click you'll find that the correct answer is:
A. Richard Rolle de Hampole, a medieval English mystic (1300s) We're not just trying to flatter you; if you got this one right, you'e pretty smart! The word "blandish" has been a part of the English language since at least the 1300s. It derives from "blandus," a Latin word meaning "mild" or "flattering." One of the earliest known uses of "blandish" can be found in the sacred writings of Richard Rolle de Hampole, an English hermit and mystic, who cautioned against "the dragon ... that blandishes with the head and smites with the tail."
More than 178,000 people subscribe to A.Word.A.Day now. Visitors to the A.Word.A.Day Web site can search the site for specific words, check the archive for word listings, or search for words by theme. If you have an audio-equipped computer, you can also hear the word's pronunciation. Words are arranged according to weekly themes. Among the recent themes were tree words, words about books, nautical words, and words about words. The word tessera, a recent posting, serves as an example of what you'll find if you subscribe to A.Word.A.Day or visit its site:
tessera (TES-uhr-uh) noun; plural tesserae (TES-uhr-ee)
One of the small squares of stone or glass used in making mosaic patterns.
[Latin, from Greek, neuter of tesseres, variant of tessares, four.]
"Kobi, the director at the site, showed us where a single tessera had come loose. If not reset, it could easily become lost and the empty space could then make it easier for the other tiles to come out, he says." -- Haim Shapiro, Ein Gedi's Mosaic Miracles, Jerusalem Post, 30 May 1997
Infoplease Daily Almanac
Have your students play a daily word game on the Infoplease Web site. They click on what does it mean? to find the day's word. Students can listen to the word's pronunciation if the computer has audio. Among the recent words on this site were sophism, pinquid, and prandial. Each entry provides a statement employing the word in context and three possible definitions. Students click on the definition they believe to be the correct one and quickly learn whether they are right or wrong. Among the recent postings to this list was this one for the word sequacious.
After years of research and information-gathering, you begin writing your crime novel. You expect the writing to be sequacious and vibrant. To your surprise,
- a. the writing style you were hoping for doesn't follow with smooth regularity.
- b. you are unable to create the tone of a good detective story.
- c. writer's block is a tremendous obstacle -- it almost forces you to give up the project.
Click to learn that the correct answer is choice a.
The Writer's Almanac
The Writer's Almanac, from Minnesota Public Radio, is a daily program of poetry and history hosted by Garrison Keillor. Parts of each show's script is available on-line. An archive provides scripts from the past year. This would be a nice resource for a middle or high school literature teacher to use as a tool for familiarizing students with great American authors. A timeline could be created to highlight some of the events.
Language Arts Warm-Ups
Thirty-six weeks of language arts warm-ups. Each week a different topic: capitalization, spelling, dictionary guide words, synonyms, verbs, and so on. A perfect bell-ringer activity to settle students down in grades 5 and up.
Article by Gary Hopkins
Education World® Editor in Chief
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