Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tech Tips Tuesday

This Week's Tip: Learn Vocabulary the Interactive Way

One of the things that I think has the potential to improve my students' writing further is the development of a more comprehensive vocabulary. I find that ten year olds tend to use a great deal of slang when relating to one another, and this creeps into their writing. Too often the way they write sounds like a conversation with the reader - filled with colloquial terms and slang. I would like for my students to develop their vocabulary through reading and enrich the vocabulary in their own writing.

Today when students met in their Cooperative Reading Groups, they collected a range of interesting or unusual words and phrases from the books they are reading. We then used Visuwords on the Interactive Whiteboard to explore these words further. Groups took turns to offer up a word which we then typed into Visuwords. Visuwords displays a diagram to show related words. It has a key to show whether the grammatical features of words and how they relate. When you move the mouse over a word you see it's definition, and when you double-click on it you see additional related terms. It leads to a great discussion about words and helps students to think more about the meanings of words. I was surprised by how enthusiastic my students were to explore their words. Some stayed on into recess to type theirs in.

For vocabulary development that's fun and engaging and doesn't require a stack of dictionaries, I recommend Visuwords.


  1. OKay, snaffling THAT link for my next Vocab group :)

  2. I love Visuwords! I teach middle school and encourage the students to play with this tool.
    New York State


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