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I recently watched John Pollack's YouTube video of his "pun safari" where he combed the streets of New York City trying to spot images of puns (such as the restaurant sign "Ciao for Now" and the waitress's "Bored of Education" T-shirt). Even though I find this kind of humor a bit painful, the video did support Pollack's call for awareness that "puns are everywhere." The video also made me think about how useful it could be to challenge students to take their own "word safaris" to document the prevalence of the words they are learning.  Continue reading...
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Last week, the College Board reported that SAT reading scores have reached an all-time low. The Class of 2011's SAT reading scores dipped another three points from the previous year (down to 497), and that makes it a whopping 33-point drop since 1972. The bleak news should leave teachers and administrators taking a hard look at how we are preparing students (or not) for the skills that are tested on the reading section of standardized exams.  Continue reading...
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Ever ask a group of students the difference between a regular word and a vocabulary word? They would probably respond by telling you that vocabulary words are words that they are supposed to learn in school, unfamiliar words that they encounter in newspapers and novels, or words that show up in workbooks with titles like "100 Vocabulary Words You Need to Know by Graduation."  Continue reading...
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When English scholar E.D. Hirsch, Jr. was called upon to try to figure out why the communication skills of contemporary Americans were deteriorating, he answered that call by bemoaning this generation's lack of "cultural literacy" — a cultural knowledge base that previous generations of well-educated folks supposedly shared.  Continue reading...
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Teachers, have you heard of jeggings? Well, if you haven't, surely your students have. Jeggings are skin-tight stretchy jeans, and their name was formed by fusing the words jeans and leggings. Jeggings and other popular words these days, like chillaxing and bromance, are all considered blends or portmanteau words — and worth exploring as a part of your students' word study.  Continue reading...
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The College Board abandoned the analogy as a SAT vocabulary question type in 2005. Those of us who remember taking SAT-style analogies are either nostalgic for the short word puzzles or are still traumatized by the sight of those tricky pairs of words mysteriously situated between single and double colons.  Continue reading...
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Word lessons are everywhere--even on minivan billboards. The new ad campaign for the Honda Odyssey prominently features the neologism “Vanquility.”  Continue reading...
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1 2 3 4 5 Displaying 15-21 of 37 Articles