Discover, Decode, Dissect, Develop, Discuss, DEFINE

Posted by on Jun 21, 2013 in comprehension, conversation as learning tool, Freebies, vocabulary, vocabulary development | 0 comments

Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.

Harvey Fierstein

Well, now it is time for definitions. We’ve found the word, decoded the word, looked at the parts to learn more about the word, done activities to get to know the word, and talked about and used the word. The word should be our word now. It is time to tell what it means. When students define words they shouldn’t spout words found in a dictionary. They should be able to explain, make connections, use analogies, and draw the word.

It is OK, I think, if some of our quizzes involve matching new terms and their meanings, but it is only OK if the meaning that the students have actively built in their heads will be able to be  matched to the words on the quiz. Students should never be asked to memorize new words and definitions with little or no regard to meaning. The words will never be retained and never be used. Time and paper will both be wasted.

It is better for the new words to be used and tested in real context. It is much better for the words to become an established part of the student’s vocabulary. It is best for students to assimilate words as their own for life.

This activity could be a weekly addition to a vocabulary journal. Students should be given the opportunity to share their new words with classmates, family, and any other interested learner!

My New WordMy New Word

More vocabulary development to come.


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