Westwood Middle School

Skip to main content
Mobile Menu
Please Create A Marquee

Dictionaries from Donors Choose

Thanks to Donors Choose and their donors I was able to get a class set of dictionaries!  With these I have been able to design lessons, that would have been impossible to do without them, and to fill a gap in our knowledge.  In this Age of 'Tech', learning the meaning of a new word is more convenient than ever! Many children are given a cell phone as soon as they learn how to talk and many classrooms offer computers as a learning tool; these resources are invaluable and offer many opportunities to learn new life skills that will help them their entire life. While there are many benefits to the convenience and speed of technology there is a chance that students fail to learn some critical reading fluency skills. Before the dictionaries, my students used computers to look up the definitions of new words. So they were not learning how to use prefixes, suffixes, and root words to decipher the meaning of unfamiliar words. 

In an inquiry activity, the students must identify the root word in a group of words containing the same root, find their definitions, and use that to decipher a meaning to the root word. As a result of this lesson students were able to develop and hone skills necessary to find the meaning of words without the use of a phone or computer, make connections between meaning and root words, and they also developed skills to find the meaning of words that they might not be able to find in a dictionary (like 'retrogradations' or 'post-transcriptional'). Yes, some of them were perturbed that they simply couldn't look up the definitions of some of the trickier ones, but in the end, they were excited and proud to be Deciphering Detectives!