Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Don't you love words? Today while skimming through postings at the English Companion Ning, I came across Sara Kajder's blog post on Wordia, a visual dictionary.

What do I love about Wordia? Not only is it visual--a rich milleau of voice and video, mostly British--but it's free and anyone can create and publish such word shorts. I could definitely use this in the classroom.

How fun would it be to hear these voices during a British Literature class? Daily word study is part of my classroom routine and more and more I've been using image, audio or video to engage students in word study. This site would make a great addition to the others I favor. Wordia reminds me though that everyday people (in addition to artists, thinkers, writers and the like) need to own words. How fun would it be to have students create their own Wordia videos for words we might be studying?

I also love The Princeton Review Vocab Minute, a definite favorite. Silly, sometimes outrageous, these podcasts are sung in a range of styles and each "song" features a plethora of words my students need. What student or small group wouldn't like to create their own such themed song? If I play one, I usually pull out a few of the words to show students what they look like in print. Then we negotiate which ones they want to add to the word wall or study further. I've only had a few students create their own songs--usually word raps--but next year, I think it will become a vocabulary assignment to choose either the Wordia video style or the Princeton Review podcast (or some combination there of that students could propose).

Got time for another favorite? Visuwords. Janet Allen showed me this one and I've almost developed the habit of checking it first (over Dictionary.com). I love the organization, color and graphic organizer-ness of Visuwords. It reminds me of Visual Thesaurus, but free.