Posted by on Aug 24, 2012 in Uncategorized | 2 comments

“We the people of the United States in order to form a more perfect union..”

The word “preamble” means, literally, to walk before. Our preamble walks before the Constitution, listing our reasons and justifications for the document. If the vocabulary were simpler, it would be an easy document for children to comprehend.

One strategy for vocabulary development is to pay attention to these Latin roots, and Greek roots, too. If students learn that “scope” means see or watch, then the meanings of the words “telescope” and “microscope” open up. Especially if we add the knowledge that “tele-” means far. With a telescope we can see or watch from far away. And, “television” also means see far. “-ology” means the study of, so “biology” means the study of life and “geology” means the study of the earth. Do I think intermediate students are old enough to study this? Not as a memorization activity, just as a curiosity. Give them some information, then reinforce it when another example comes around.

Word of the Day Set 2 # 5

Kids need many opportunities to grow their vocabulary. Help them in every way you can!



  1. I am not a fan of changing those elegant and powerful words into something easier, but then I teach 11-12 year olds. My students memorize the preamble, and they begin to own them. I teach them hand motions to go with each phrase. For example, “ensure domestic tranquility” is rocking a baby. I also use the Peter Spier book so they have images for each phrase.

    • I’ve never actually presented this format to my own class, but I have explained each of the lines in this way. I would not want them to learn anything but the actual words.

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