Wednesday, November 21, 2012

App Those Words

Yesterday I chatted about how one of the things the kiddos do during Word Study is define their words.  They do this a few different ways.  While with me, they use a dictionary.  While on their own, they continue to use the dictionary to help them draw the meaning of the words and/or use them in sentences.

Sometimes, though, the words just can't be found in the dictionary.  Each week there's at least two words that we need alternate means to define (try looking up inter alia or expurgate in a school dictionary).  In these circumstances we need alternate resources.  

At first, the kiddos were heading to Safari to look up the word.  They'd just type it into the search box.  If you've ever done that before than you know that there are a few links that will usually pop up; dictionary.com, Wikipedia, Webster Dictionary.  One day, while one of them clicked on the link they asked if they could download the app. Why Not?

These are 3 free apps that I have on the iPods for the kiddos to use.

When looking up a word on Webster Merriam it will offer you the same things a paper dictionary will.  One difference that I really like (and so do the kiddos) is that it will pronounce the word for you if you tap on the speaker.  Now...we looked up proposition and reproduction the other day and the kiddos were a little upset by the usages offered; prostitution and sexual were words used in the sentences.  Here's the thing, you have to be nonchalant about it and just explain how that is how the words are used in the legal and scientific worlds.  They were okay with that.

Dictionary app is fairly similar to the Webster app.  One of the things that I like is the 'Word of the Day'.  Today's word is terpsichorean ... that's one I never would come across.  This is a lot of fun because kiddos, particularly 5th graders love words!  You can also make words your favorites.  This is perfect for spelling lists because the kiddos can star their words so that they can continuously go back to them.  That brings back a whole new meaning to word wall!  And it reminds me of something my mom used to do in her dictionary ~ highlight the words she looked up so that she could keep track of how she expanded her vocabulary.  

Lastly, I just downloaded Word Web.  This is similar to finding a word in a dictionary.  One of the reasons why I downloaded it was because it gives you synonyms and antonyms as well.  You just need to understand their key to know which is which.  Also, you can cross reference the definition with other on or offline sources.