WordMasters Blog

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.

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Suddenly there’s a love affair with words in my classroom!

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