Saturday, November 30, 2013

Celebration of Word Sounds

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Words have so much power. I love teaching vocabulary that connects to students' lives, and sounds different--makes it easier to remember. So today, I celebrate words and their sounds!


  1. perpendicular--two lines which meet at right angle. I love how this word sounds. There is a rhythm to the sounds; you have to move your mouth and lips to say the sounds correctly.
  2. ostentatious--showy. Which one really would sound better in your writing: showy or ostentatious?
  3. peculiar--strangle or odd. The sound of that words make just stays with me. I can remember the way that you write them and how they sound. I think this word--peculiar--even sounds a little mysterious, don't you.
  4. ambivalent--uncertain or unsure (having mixed feelings). Again, there is the sound that a word makes that just sticks with me. I am wondering if there is a direct correlation with our lip movement with the part of our brain that stores words in a long term memory?
  5. preposterous--contrary to reason or common sense. I love when my students take these words and use them in their writing. I know that they "got it" when I see one of these challenge words used in essays, journals or other writings.
  6. ubiquitous--being everywhere (omnipresent). Perhaps it is the /b/ and /p/ sounds that attract me with these words. Those two sounds are also the hardest for my ELLs to differentiate as Arabic does not have those sounds. Come to think of it, Finnish does not have the exact same sounds either.
  7. obnoxious--very offensive. Doesn't the pronunciation of this word already tell you how offensive something is?
  8. plethora--abundance. There really are a plethora of words that I could use, but perhaps today, I will focus on words that stay with me because of their sounds.  
Maybe next time, I will celebrate words that have meaning beyond their sounds.

I hope that you have a plethora of wonderful Thanksgiving memories to share and treasure!

20 comments:

  1. What a great list! I want to share this with kids on Monday and see what they do with it.

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    1. Keep me posted on what your students think!

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  2. I love this list! I keep a list on my phone of words that catch my ear. One of the most popular activities in our classroom is adding to our classroom list of "interesting words" and I , too, do a silent victory dance when I see them appear in their writing. Gotta love the English language for always keeping us on our toes!

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    1. I think I need to start "interesting words" board in my class again! Thanks for the reminder!

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  3. I love these words. This reminds me of something that happened this week in my classroom. I could not pronounce the word heroic. I kept pronouncing it he-roy-ic. The kids thought it was hilarious. Words are so much fun!

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    1. That is one reason that I LOVE the new apps that will pronounce the words for you when my mouth does not move the right way!

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  4. Your word celebration reminds me of the book "The Boy Who Loved Words" by Roni Shotter. I often use the term "respect the sound" during read aloud. I should use "celebrate the sound" too.

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    1. I have to remember "respect the sound!"

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  5. Plethora! Loved seeing that word....it just sounds abundant, doesn't it?

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  6. I love this post on words. We celebrate with a new WOW (word of the week) in 6th grade each week. 7th grade teachers report that our students have great retention for these words. When I teach plethora, we talk about plenty and figure out the difference between plethora and myriad. When I teach extrovert and introvert, I also teach ambivert. Most of us are a little of each. This week we shopped at QFC to fill holiday boxes for a family in need and learned magnanimous, altruistic, and benevolent.

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    1. Jaana, just looked at your words again. It appears that you have a propensity for words beginning with the letter p!

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    2. I love your words Ramona! I think that "propensity" should have been on my list as well! Perhaps #6 could be my reason for the p-words.

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  7. My favorite is ubiquitous. Certain people have a ubiquitous presence at a conference. :)

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    1. I totally agree with you after reading some of the posts about NCTE!

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  9. Too many errors! Love seeing (and imagining 'hearing') your list. You must have a lot of fun teaching your students and studying the words, some of which are challenging! It took me the longest time to remember what 'ubiquitous' meant-guess I didn't see it used enough. Use helps cement it doesn't it, and the visual too.

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  10. I think my next step should be to create the visuals that go with these (and other) words!

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  11. I love collecting words too! You have a great list, I look forward to the next time you post about words.

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    1. Thanks Elsie! I have an idea for Tuesday's slice about a few special words!

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