Dancing with Words: Helping Students Love Language Through Authentic Vocabulary Instruction

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National Council of Teachers of English, 2001 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 133 pages
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This book argues for a deeper, richer view of vocabulary than the standard images conjured up by that word--worksheets, weekly quizzes, and anxieties about standardized test scores. The book invites teachers and students to experience "the music of words," words in isolation and in juxtapositions, and urges them to bring their own life experiences to language, showing in turn how language can help them know that experience more fully. It demonstrates how to build a community in the classroom where curiosity about language is the norm. It states that, within this community, students and teacher not only take time to test out shades of connotation and learn about how words and syntax create voice, they also: engage in personal and philosophical discussions that grow from seemingly simple words such as "solitude,""self," and "phony"; participate in dance and theater games as ways of mastering language; keep individual word lists which they share with the class through a variety of exercises; free-associate through discussion and freewrites on key words from literature; write their own dictionary definitions of familiar words; experiment with the rhythms and sounds of words through poetry writing; and explore the different vocabularies used in a big city newspaper--in sportswriting, book and TV reviews, news reporting, editorials, and science writing. (Each chapter contains notes, and a 17-item annotated bibliography of books for further reading is attached.) (NKA)

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Persimmons and Times When
The Resonating Word
First Day

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Common terms and phrases

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