May 2014 Newsletter
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May 2014 Newsletter
|Copyright © 2014 WordMasters, LLC, All rights reserved.|
|unsubscribe from this list | update subscription preferences|
By now, all our teams should be headed into the homestretch of the 2013-14 WordMasters Challenge. In fact, a few schools have already administered Meet #3 and entered their scores! Keep in mind that although the Challenge Schedule indicates that Meet #3 should take place between April 7 and April 25th, it's okay to postpone the test until the following week as long as scores are submitted by midnight on May 2nd. PLEASE NOTE: WE WILL NOT BE ABLE TO ACCEPT OR ENTER ANY SCORES AFTER MAY 2nd! We have a very tight turnaround to process Meet #3 scores as well as cumulative results by May 16th. Although your school may be in session until July to make up an abundance of snow days (!), we have schools in many parts of the country that complete their academic year mid to late May. We appreciate your cooperation in getting your scores in before the deadline.
REVISIONS TO 7B TEST AND 3G ANSWER KEY
Thanks to some eagle-eyed Team Leaders, we have caught and corrected typos on the 7B Challenge Test and the 3G Answer Key. Any files downloaded since April 9th are correct. If you downloaded either of these files prior to April 9th, please note the following:
MEDALS & CERTIFICATES
The end-of-year mailing with your medals and certificates is heading to the Post Office today (see below for details). As a reminder, you receive one Champion Medal and ten Achievement Certificates for each team you have enrolled. It's up to you to determine how to award or distribute these items. If you need extra medals (sold separately for $6) or certificates (sold in groups of 5 for $5), please place your order online for immediate shipping. Remember that merchandise orders must be prepaid with credit card or linked to a school purchase order.
WordMasters™ Spring Mailing
Watch your mail for a packet from WordMasters™ that will contain:
The mailing is scheduled for Friday, April 11th. If you have not received your packet by May 1st, please contact us.
Celebrating Meet #2 Success: WordMasters™ Press Release TemplateAfter each meet, WordMasters™ prepares and sends press releases to the primary school contact for each team placing in the Top Ten within its division, as well as to schools with one or more students earning a perfect score of 20.
To share your team's success with your school or local media, we have created a WordMasters™ Press Release Template, in the Teacher Tools section, which can be downloaded from the website and customized in Microsoft Word for your school.
Student Spotlight:Tejas Muthusamy, a fifth-grader at Rivers Edge Elementary School, has achieved a perfect score of 20 on each of the first two WordMasters Challenge meets this year. He also is preparing for the Scripps National Spelling Bee in May. Good luck, Tejas! We're all cheering you on.
"The Key to Innovation: Making Smart Analogies" by Annie Murphy PaulRecently, Annie Murphy Paul shared a copy of the speech she gave at the 2014 Sandbox Summit in her "Brilliant Blog". In her speech she highlighted how useful analogies can provide new theories to test and also help make sense of unexpected results. All of which leads to new discoveries.
Click here to read her speech and to follow her blog--she's one of our favorites.
|Word Lists Available||Oct. 13th|
|Test Administered||Nov. 17th - Dec 5th|
|Score Reporting Deadline||Dec. 12th|
|Results Available||Dec. 26th|
|Word Lists Available||Dec. 8th|
|Test Administered||Feb. 2nd - Feb. 20th|
|Score Reporting Deadline||Feb. 27th|
|Results Available||March 13th|
|Word Lists Available||Feb. 23rd|
|Test Administered||April 6th-April 24th|
|Score Reporting Deadline||May 1st|
|Results Available||May 15th|
|Cumulative Champions Announced||May 15th|
|Word Lists Available||Feb. 24th|
|Test Administered||April 7th-April 25th|
|Score Reporting Deadline||May 2nd|
|Results Available||May 16th|
|Cumulative Champions Announced||May 16th|
First Challenge Meet
Team Leader Guide
Dear Team Leaders:
Welcome to the start of the 2013-14 WordMasters Challenge! Thank you for your patience and understanding as we worked through some of the technical glitches with our upgraded website. By now, you should have logged into the website to set up your team(s) and downloaded your Meet #1 Word Lists(s).
If you experience any difficulty accessing your WordMasters account, please try the following before contacting us for assistance:
INSTRUCTIONS FOR MEET #1
The Challenge Tests and Answer Keys will be available for download from your Dashboard on November 18th.
Schedule your Challenge Meet for any 20-minute period between November 18th – December 6th.
Enter your students’ scores online by December 13th. You can create a unique student record for each participant at any time by clicking on “Manage Teams & Students” from your Dashboard (no limit to number of students per team). More information regarding score submission will be sent to you before Challenge Meet tests are available for download. Important note: Due to the changes we have made to automate the score reporting process, we will no longer be able to accept scores beyond the posted deadline of December 13th. Please schedule your meet accordingly to ensure you are able to submit your scores on time.
A summary of results will be posted on our website and available for download on December 27th.
No need to wait until January to start preparing for the second Challenge Meet! Word Lists for Meet #2 will be available for download on December 9th.
NOTES TO TEAM LEADERS
Before the Meet
During the Meet
Challenge meets should last about 20 minutes (we do not impose a strict time limit) and should be conducted silently (i.e., the Team Leader should not read the analogies aloud). Students should work unassisted; they should not consult their Word Lists, definitions, or each other.
There is one circumstance in which limited help is permitted: If your students
encounter a word in the Challenge test which has not appeared on the Word Lists yet
is unfamiliar to them, you may define that word briefly. Please be sure that any
definition you give is not only brief and simple, but is also without reference to the
analogy in which the unfamiliar word appears. It is NOT permissible to define a word
that appeared on an earlier Word List (applies to Meets #2 and #3), nor one that is a derivative of any Word List vocabulary.
After the Meet
Don't forget to check out all the resources available to you through our website (Idea Gallery, Teacher Tools, FAQs, blog posts, WordMasters Basics, etc).
The start of the 2013-14 WordMasters™ Challenge is quickly approaching! The deadline to enroll your team is September 30th.
Beginning October 1st, you’ll be able to access your WordMasters™ Meet #1 Word Lists, so enroll your teams today. Please contact us with any questions. We’re happy to help you get started.
Here are year-end comments from Team Leaders who coached during the 2012-13 WordMasters™ Challenge:
“This continues to be a fantastic method for students to work together learning new vocabulary words and then, advancing to a higher level of thinking with the challenging analogies. This has become one of our most popular ‘team sports’.”
--Team Leader, Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Boston
“Thanks for the terrific year! My students discovered the power of words and enjoyed adding so many to their vocabulary! We had a great time!”
--Team Leader, Ames Middle School
Here is another well-written persuasive letter from two students hoping to start a WordMasters Team in their new middle school. I wonder if you'll learn a new definition for an old word from their letter, too. Did you know a farmer uses a scuffle? Have a wonderful week!
Dear Mr. S.,
We are two students from Chestwood School. We would like to inform you about our abundant requests for the WordMasters Challenge in middle school. We think that WordMasters can teach students a lot, not just in school but also out of school. We definitely think that it does! Here are some reasons why they should have the WordMasters Challenge. They extend and alter students’ vocabulary, they help students understand analogies and comparing things in real life, and they help students learn definitions of words that they may use in everyday life.
They extend students’ vocabulary by having them study for the competition, thus making them keep the words they learn in their minds. Words like contraband and alter are used everywhere. They’re used in television, on signs, in speeches, etc. Words like scanty and lumber help you learn new definitions of the same words. Our teacher has taught WordMasters for a long time and she just learned another definition for the word scanty, and as funny as it may seem, scanty also means brief underpants. She also just learned another definition for the word scuffle. As well as being a short and confused fight, it’s also a type of hoe for construction. As you can see, WordMasters extends vocabulary.
WordMasters helps students’ understanding of analogies and comparing things in real life. We compare things in real life in lots of ways. By people and their jobs, what people use in their jobs, etc. Example: Farmers use scythes and scuffles, just like cooks use spatulas. We have observed that our students use an abundant amount of analogies to describe anything they can think of. We also use analogies, not just in language arts, but also in science, math, social studies, and many more subjects. It’s basically classifying things in a new way. As you can see, WordMasters help students’ understand analogies and comparing things in real life.
WordMasters help students learn definitions of words they can use in real life. It helps you learn more advanced words. All of our WordMasters are supposed to be challenging, and they are. I think we can all agree that these words are challenging and are at a seventh grade level. Also, my partner and I didn’t know lots of the definitions or meanings of the WordMasters words. We have found out many new words that we have never heard and now we have used them in our sentences many times. WordMasters help student learn definitions and meanings of words they can use in real life.
We wouldn’t like to sound like a broken record, but WordMasters means a lot to Chestwood students. We would really appreciate it if you put our request into consideration. We know that WordMasters help students extend their vocabulary, helps students understand analogies and comparing things in real life, and they help students learn definitions of words you can use in life. We have one more supporting thought. We have used many, many WordMasters words in this letter.
We would like you to consider our request,
G. and N.
Here’s another interesting word origin story that traces back to the Mediterranean. I’ve borrowed this from another fun “word” book I picked up – Random House Webster’s Pocket Power Vocabulary, which is a tiny book about the size of a pack of index cards and includes more than a hundred tests to improve your word mastery.
In Sparta, the capital of the ancient Greek region of Laconia, the children were trained in endurance, cunning, modesty, and self-restraint. From the terse style of speech and writing of the Laconians we derive the English word “laconic.” Today the word retains this meaning, expressing much in few words.
Why yes, of course I have a few analogies from our WordMasters archives! No one ever accused me of being laconic. See if you can solve these:
SPEAKER : LACONIC :: DONOR : _______________________
GARRULOUS : LACONIC :: DIAPHONOUS : ___________________________
A group of students teamed up and wrote letters to their future junior high schools which did not have a WordMasters team. Their intent was to get a team started at their new school so they could continue participating in the WordMasters Challenge this coming school year. We thought they said it best in their own words. Enjoy!
December 11, 2012
Dear Mr. H,
Did you know that kids that know more words are generally smarter children? Well, it’s true! And if you want that for your students, then you should do this thing called WORDMASTERS. It’s a fun way to learn lots of new words. Now if you don’t mind… we’d like to tell you a thing or two about this educational system.
WordMasters words are a great way to enrich a student’s vocabulary! If all the grades did WordMasters then 1st graders could read Harry Potter books! Kids will be able to do harder assignments at younger grades. Before you know it, kids will be saying, “What an exquisite day today!” and “A skinflint took my money!!!” It sounds strange now but if your students do WordMasters, this is what your average conversation might sound like!
With WordMasters words, you will develop smarter children! Your students will have better grades and don’t forget, better grades mean better jobs, which will help our economy. You could do all this and more if only you would allow us to compete in the WordMasters Challenge! It’s a tremendous way to learn analogies too. If only you had WordMasters at your school, your students could be mini geniuses!
OHH! And how could I forget to tell you!!! Not only is WordMasters educational, it’s also a really fun way to learn! I mean we obviously enjoy it or we wouldn’t be writing this 5-paragraph essay about doing it next year. If we like the work, we won’t complain about doing it. It cultivates learning for us! (By the way, cultivate was a Word Masters word!) Our teacher rewards us for finding our words in books or using them in our writing, which will help us through school and through our lives! It makes it fun competing to find the words for the candy. That’s why we enjoy them so much!
Now as you can see, WordMasters is obviously a spectacular idea but it’s your choice. If you don’t want your students to have a fabulous vocabulary then so be it. Oh, you can’t possibly forget about cultivating learning for your students! Now you can hopefully see that WordMasters is the smartest way to take your student’s education and that I strongly recommend it! Thank you for your time, sir.
Two of Mrs. R’s LA students
Yes, I am a self-proclaimed word nerd and I love to read about words. Here’s another interesting tidbit from Mignon Fogarty, author of Grammar Girl’s 101 Words Every High School Graduate Needs to Know.
Something poignant is painfully moving, keenly felt, or sharply experienced. Poignant comes from a Latin word that meant “to prick” and a later Old French word that meant “to prick or sting” and may be related to the word pungent, which has a similar meaning but is more likely to be applied to a taste or a smell.
Okay, so now try your hand at solving these WordMasters Challenge analogies from the archives using poignant and pungent.
POIGNANT : MAUDLIN :: DRAMA : ______________________________
SOUP : PUNGENT :: STORY : _____________________________
At each grade level, the competition consists of three 20-minute analogy-solving meets, which are held at your school three times during the academic year (December, February and April).
Prior to each meet, students are given a list of 25 challenging vocabulary words, which are customized for each competition level that will appear in the meet analogies. Excellence in the competition will require both a mastery of the word meanings and thoughtful reasoning about the relationships between the word list vocabulary and more familiar language used in the competition’s analogies.
Try one for yourself from our sixth grade blue division:
GARB : REPAST :: ___________ : ___________
(a) WEAR : STIR
(b) CLOTHES : COOK
(c) EAT : WEAR
(d) THIN : FAT
(e) SEW : COOK
We hope you learned a new word, or maybe a new usage for a word you already knew, as you thought your way through the choices. If you're curious, option e was the correct answer.
Are you looking for a new way to help your students grow their vocabulary and verbal reasoning? Join over 150,000 students from some of the best public and private schools throughout the United States who participate in the WordMasters™ Challenge!
What is the WordMasters Challenge™ and what are the benefits?
WordMasters Challenge™ (n.) 1. A yearly, national competition for students in grades 3-8 that encourages growth in vocabulary and verbal reasoning through the use of analogies.
Unlike other language arts competitions for this age group—which focus on grammar, punctuation, spelling and other language mechanics—the WordMasters Challenge™ helps students learn to think both analytically and metaphorically. The contest addresses higher-level word comprehension and verbal reasoning in two ways:
Traditional vocabulary learning : WordMasters Challenge™ :: Rote memorization : ___________
A. Verbal reasoning
B. Higher-level word comprehension
C. Improved reading comprehension
D. Improved verbal expression
E. Improved standardized test scores
F. All of the above!
The benefit? Research shows that developing higher order thinking skills impacts reading comprehension, verbal expression and performance on standardized tests!
To enroll your team for the 2013-14 school year, visit www.wordmasterschallenge.com.
Follow us on Twitter and play along as we tweet daily analogies. Analogies will be posted Monday through Friday, increasing in difficulty as the week progresses (like the NY Times Crossword Puzzle!). The number that appears before the analogy indicates the Challenge level where the analogy was previously used; for example, (4B) means the analogy appeared in a 4th Grade - Blue Division Challenge.
If you are unfamiliar with analogy notation, remember that a single colon (:) means "is to" and a double colon (::) means "as". So "black : white :: good : evil" reads "black is to white as good is to evil". Usually, we leave just the last term out, so to solve the analogy you choose the word that makes the most sense. Sometimes we leave the second part of the analogy out altogether, so you must choose a pair of words that have the same relationship as the first pair.
The correct answer to each day's analogy will be tweeted the following day.
Teachers, this is a great way to keep your students thinking analytically over the summer and between Challenge meets!
Good luck and have fun!
Welcome to WordMasters' new and improved website! We are very excited about the changes we are introducing for the 2012-13 school year. My name is Lisa Kennedy, and I am the new Executive Director for WordMasters’ elementary and middle school programs. In this blog, I would like to point out some of the changes we have made to serve you better.
First and foremost, we are making it easier to enroll teams, receive Challenge materials, and submit your team’s Challenge results. All of these tasks can be accomplished online beginning with enrollment for 2012-13 and continuing with word list distribution for Meet #1 in October. (Please note: Scores for Meet #3 of the current WordMasters Challenge 2011-12 cannot be submitted using our online form. Please continue to send your scores by mail or fax. See the Submit Challenge Scores page on our website for more details.)
Second, our online format eliminates the need to make copies of cumbersome legal-size documents. All of the Word List and Challenge documents will be downloadable letter-size PDF documents. You will receive an email several weeks before each Meet with directions for how to download the WordMasters materials you have purchased. Simply download the appropriate files and make the number of copies you need for your team. When you have completed scoring, return to our website and enter your top ten scores into the Results form. It’s that easy!
Third, we have taken many of the ideas you have shared with us in the past and posted them in our Idea Gallery under the Resources tab of the website. We hope to continue expanding this exchange of ideas (including photos and videos) over the coming months. Please send us your stories and suggestions regarding the WordMasters Challenge, analogies, vocabulary, verbal reasoning, lesson plans, and any any other idea you might have!
We hope you like the new look and feel of the WordMasters Challenge, and we look forward to hearing your comments.