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From the Students: "Our teacher just learned another definition for the word scanty…"

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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.


 

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The nuance of vocabulary and how WordMasters aligns with Common Core

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Today I want to focus on the word nuance, which is derived from a French word meaning “shades” (as in small differences in color).  Borrowing once again from Mignon Fogarty’s Grammar Girl’s 101 Words to Sound Smart:

In English, a nuance is a subtle difference.  You can think of it as shades of meaning, taste, color or feeling with only slight differences, just as there is a slight difference in color between fern and forest green crayons.

Fogarty goes on to include this wonderful excerpt from journalist Henry Hazlitt’s Thinking as a Science:

A man with a scant vocabulary will almost certainly be a weak thinker.  The richer and more copious one’s vocabulary and the greater one’s awareness of fine distinctions and subtle nuances of meaning, the more fertile and precise is likely to be one’s thinking.  Knowledge of things and knowledge of the words for them grow together.  If you do not know the words, you can hardly know the thing.

The WordMasters Challenge is designed to encourage students to explore the nuances of language – to know not only what a word means, but also how to use it in conversation or composition.  If your school is implementing the Common Core State Standards, note how the skills developed through WordMasters are specifically targeted through the following standards:

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.3.5:  Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships and nuances in word meanings.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.6.5b:  Use the relationship between particular words (e.g. cause/effect, part/whole, item/category) to better understand each of the words.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.8.5c: Distinguish among the connotations (associations) of words with similar denotations (definitions), e.g. bullheaded, willful, firm, persistent, resolute.

More on how WordMasters aligns with the Common Core State Standards to come!



 

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