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March 2015 Newsletter

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March 2015

WordMasters News!


I know it's probably cheating to borrow from someone else's newsletter for content for your own newsletter, but I just LOVED this idea I came across in the most recent email I received from Vocabulary.com
 

The Best Way to Get to Know a Word? Interview It!

Too often, when the dictionary comes out — the thinking stops — and students busy themselves with copying the definition. — Peter Pappas

In learning a word, a dictionary definition is a place to start (or end); it cannot capture a word's essence or connotation. Students need to learn that words — like people — have personalities. Some get along with everybody. Some only get along with other select words. Some are comfortable everywhere, while some have special hangouts or niches.

A fun way to reinforce this connotation lesson is to have students write imaginative interviews with words that require them to explore words in multiple contexts and from multiple perspectives. Here is an example of an interview with the word vain, along with the resources on the Vocabulary.com Dictionary page that were used to come up with the answers.

Q and A with Vain

Q: Can you tell us a little about yourself?

A: Sure, people tend to think of me as either snobby or worthless. If I'm used to describe a person, it's not a compliment. It means that the person is conceited and full of himself. If I'm used to describe an action, it usually means that things didn't go according to plan.

 

(Source: Visual Thesaurus word map for vain)

Q: Do you come from a big family?

A: Not really. I have two siblings — vainly (adv.) and vanity (noun) — but most people are familiar with me — the adjective of the family. 

(Source: Vocabulary.com usage chart for vain)

Q: What about your friends? With whom do you have a lot in common? To whom do you relate?

I have lots of friends — conceitedswollen-headed, and egotistical — to name a few. They are all in my clique.

I am also often spotted with my friend, the preposition "in." When we are together ("in vain"), people think we are useless and get frustrated with us since we aren't productive. 

 

(Source: Vocabulary.com usage examples for vain)

Q: What are some of the highlights of your life?

Well, I made it big in biblical times by working my way into the Ten Commandments: "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain."

It was hard to top that, but I have impressive staying power. Famous poets like Emily Dickinson discovered me ("If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain."), and even pop song writers ("You're so vain you probably think this song is about you..."). (SourcesBrainyquote.comthinkexist.com, and songlyrics.com)

Q: Is there anything else we should know about you?

You should try me out. I'm only one syllable, I rhyme well with others (e.g., gain, pain, train, explain, disdain, etc.), and you can make good use of me when insulting others. (Source: Vocabulary.com Dictionary's advanced search rhyming function)

 
What are the personalities of your Meet #3 words? This technique can be used by students of all ages, but we think your middle schoolers will be particularly creative! Send us your best "interviews" for inclusion in upcoming newsletters and blogs.

March Madness Alternatives

If you're looking for something fun to do with your class, or friends, there are several literary adaptions to the tradition basketball brackets. Out of Print has created a bracket with 64 stories competing head-to-head. "Who will be this year's Cinderella story?"

Celebrating Meet #2 Accomplishments

After 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.

WordMasters™ Spring Mailing Coming Next Month

The packet from WordMasters™ that will contain:

  • One Champion Medal for each team you have enrolled (with blue or gold neck ribbon)
  • Ten Achievement Certificates you can fill out and distribute as desired
  • Re-enrollment instructions for the 2015-16 WordMasters Challenge™ (includes order form if you need to request a Purchase Order)

The spring mailing is scheduled for the week of April 13th. If you have not received your packet by May 1st, please contact us. 

Note:Packets will not be mailed to and Meet #3 Challenge Tests will not be accessible by customers with outstanding balances.  Please contact us immediately to make payment arrangements for overdue invoices.  Thank you!

Calendar Reminders


Meet #2 Results available: 
March 13th
Meet # 3 Testing: 
April 6th - April 24th



2014-15 WordMasters Challenge™
  
Meet #3
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 


To find the entire 2014-15 WordMasters Challenge Calendar click here or the Challenge Schedule can be found under the Resources tab on the WordMasters Challenge website.

In This Issue

What Works in Your Classroom?

Share your successful teaching tips, photos, or videos. E-mail us at lisa.kennedy@wordmasterschallenge.com and we'll add it to the Idea Gallery.

Keep Up With Us

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February 2015 Newsletter

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February 2015

WordMasters News!


In many parts of the country, Mother Nature pelted us with snow, ice and sub-zero temperatures throughout January and February. We understand that school delays and cancellations can wreak havoc with curriculum planning, especially for enrichment teachers who may only meet with their students weekly or bi-weekly.  At WordMasters, we try to anticipate these challenges by making the word lists available as early as possible and offering a testing window that is several weeks long.  Please understand that we cannot alter our Meet #2 score submission deadline without impacting the tight scheduling of Meet #3 testing and score reporting.  

We have begun assembling our Year-End Mailing, which includes your Champion medals (one per team), achievement certificates (ten per team) and renewal information for the 2015-16 WordMasters Challenge.  You should expect to receive your package no later than April 24th. (Please note:  Packages will not be mailed to customers with outstanding balances.  Please make arrangements for immediate payment of overdue invoices.)

As you are planning ahead for next year, check out this feedback we received from a district that had traditionally offered WordMasters exclusively to their Gifted/Talented students:
We're the Gifted and Talented teachers in our district and this year, we opened up the WordMasters Challenge to the entire 5th grade, rather than just our students.  One of our 5th grade teachers, Julie Martire, is really embracing WordMasters in her classroom. She is giving them a word each day and encouraging them to use the word in their conversations (both at home and in school) as well as in their writing.  Mrs. Martire also informed us that the kids have been discovering the words in the books that they are reading, and they are very excited when they come across one!  Thanks to Mrs. Martire and WordMasters, these students really are developing a love for and excitement about words!
Lynne Henwood and Sarah Rooney
Washington Township District Talented and Gifted Teachers

Challenge Spotlight: Laurence School

With two teams placing in the top ten for their respective divisions, Laurence School announced the achievement by sending home this "Backpack News" article.

LAURENCE WINS HIGHEST HONORS AT THE WORDMASTERS CHALLENGE!

Several students and the fourth and fifth grade teams representing Laurence School recently won highest honors in the WordMasters Challenge.  The WordMasters Challenge is a national language arts competition consisting of three separate meets held at intervals during the school year.  The WordMasters Challenge is an exercise in critical thinking.  The children are given a list of 25 challenging words to learn for each meet (considerably higher than grade level).  Students learn the definitions of these words and then are challenged to use the words to complete analogies, enhancing their critical thinking skills by learning how to think both analytically and metaphorically.

The fourth grade tied for fourth place in the nation, among 352 school teams competing at this grade level and in this division.  


Pictured Above: Fourth Grade Blue Team

The fifth grade came in fourth among 378 school teams. 


Pictured Above: Fifth Grade Blue Team

Laurence is the ONLY school from third grade through sixth grade to have two grade levels place in the top ten!  This is an extraordinary achievement.

Several students won highest honors for individual achievement.  Fourth graders Georgia G. and Baxter C. earned perfect scores in their meet for their grade level while only 100 fourth graders achieved this result. Fifth graders Theo M. and Beck W. also earned perfect scores.  Only 16 fifth graders pulled off this amazing feat.  Clearly earning a perfect score is an amazing accomplishment!

All of the children in both the fourth and fifth grade worked diligently to learn the definitions of the words and to become adept at solving analogies, helping their teams to place in the top ten.  Congratulations to these students who worked so hard to achieve this remarkable result.  They are all, indeed, word masters!
________

Has your team been celebrated in your school or community? E-mail us the information to share.

A Note from the Teacher:
Words of Encouragement

As we wade through the finals days of winter, some words of encouragement are sure to put a smile on a student's face. To help, an artist named Lori McDonough has free downloads on her blog, Fresh Picked Whimsy, including this great download called Notes from Teacher.




 
 

Meet #3 Study Tools

Looking for ways to help your students learn their word lists? Try one of these new WordMasters™ Study Tools: Study Tools created last year are:All Study Tools are found on Teacher Tools. Do you have a tool to share? E-mail us.

Calendar Reminders


Meet #2 Reporting Deadline: 
February 27th
Meet # 3 Word Lists Available: 
February 23rd



2014-15 WordMasters Challenge™
  
Meet #2
Word Lists Available Dec. 8th
Test Administered   Feb. 2nd - Feb. 20th 
Score Reporting Deadline   Feb. 27th
Results Available  March 13th
  
Meet #3
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 

To find the entire 2014-15 WordMasters Challenge Calendar click here or the Challenge Schedule can be found under the Resources tab on the WordMasters Challenge website.

In This Issue

What Works in Your Classroom?

Share your successful teaching tips, photos, or videos. E-mail us at lisa.kennedy@wordmasterschallenge.com and we'll add it to the Idea Gallery.

Keep Up With Us

Friend on FacebookFacebook
Follow on TwitterTwitter
Copyright © 2014 WordMasters, LLC, All rights reservedEmail Marketing Powered by MailChimp
unsubscribe from this list | update subscription preference





 

link
e-mail
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