Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Visual Thesaurus


Visual Thesaurus: Taking Word Study to the Next Level



The Visual Thesaurus is an interactive dictionary and thesaurus which creates word maps that blossom with meanings and branch to related words. Its innovative display encourages exploration and learning. You'll understand language in a powerful new way.







Say you have a meaning in mind, like "happy." The VT helps you find related words, from "cheerful" to "euphoric." The best part is the VT works like your brain, not a paper-bound book. You'll want to explore just to see what might happen. You'll discover -- and learn -- naturally and intuitively. You'll find the right word, write more descriptively, free associate -- and gain a more precise understanding of the English language.

Vocabulary Lesson to Kick Off Class Hunger Games Study

In order to maximize my instruction, I am using my word study time in a very unique way. I am using The Hunger Games as a read aloud to, not only to review fiction reading, but to teach vocabulary. The Hunger Games is a very complex text, but the series has captivated most of my class, and I was realizing that my students had a very literal understanding of Suzanne Collins’ amazing work of science fiction. I began noticing it was the vocabulary used that was the greatest obstacle. Without an understanding of the vocabulary, deep understanding of the complex themes, symbols, characters, etc... is impossible.

Here was the lesson I did today, using Visual Thesaurus, to introduce The Hunger Games:

As a class, we skimmed through the first chapter and identified words that would potentially pose problems. Here are the words we found:




Next, the students are tasked with trying to group the words into categories, using VisualThesaurus for help.


Once students have tried on their own, I pose three categories of my own and ask them to sort the words into the following: Competition, Deprivation, and Political Turmoil. This will indirectly introduce them to some of the major themes of the novel, therefore making them esier to identify once the students begin reading.


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