In the last chapter of “Random things I decide to do” I’ve just started collecting words (from different languages) that are new for me or that I like for some reason (meaning, sound, complexity…). Why?
Why not? It is free and it does no damage. I’ve always been fascinated by how one day we decided to classify language and I love to see how students ask the same kind of questions when they learn how to use their dictionaries.
– Who invented the alphabet? And the dictionary? Who selects what goes into the dictionary, miss?…
I’ve always got their attention by presenting to them one of the world’s oldest memes.
I like talking briefly about Dr. Johnson‘s figure and his dictionary. It always reminds me of that brilliant Blackadder episode (Season 03 – Ink and Incapability) where Johnson’s A Dictionary of the English Language has a crucial role in the plot.
There are hundreds of ways of working on this topic and my choice was to (after explaining what the dictionary is and how it works) form groups and set the following task:
In teams, choose a word that you all like and would like to preserve for the future. Once you made your choice, create a dictionary entry that includes:
- The word
- What type of word it is (noun, adjective, verb…)
- Its definition
- A sentence that includes this word
Feel free to add any more info that you consider relevant and be creative (colors, flags,…).
Then I show them (as an example) the template I used for my new collection of words. Once they finish their entries you can then use them to decorate your classroom or they can stick them in their books.
Just in case you are curious I’ll upload the new words I like in this Pinterest board: