Practical Theory - The Origin
The Scholars in CyberEnglish
ToDaY's MeNu - Ted

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Just Play

All work and no play makes Ted a very dull boy. Sometimes we need to play. Play is all around us actually. Consider some of the phrase we use when we need to get some work done.
Let's play with the idea.
Let's bat these ideas around to see what we come up with.
Think about some to the verbs we use when we engage in a work activity like: putter, toy, dabble, cobble, a pitch. These are play verbs.

I have been introduced to three fun programs that provide fun and learning.

The first program is Free Rice, which is a vocabulary program. The object is to select the correct meaning of a word from the four choices. The fun part is for every word the user gets correct, the sponsors donate 20 grains of rice to the UN World Food Program, hence the name, "Free Rice." The user can change the difficulty level of the words chosen from easy to harder. It can be a very competitive activity as the scholars compete with each other to donate more rice. All this fun and humanitarianism while improving their vocabulary.

The second program is one word. On this site the user has sixty seconds to comment on simple words like sombre, scarf, and everyday words. The object is simply to write your first thought the word suggests. In a class, this is a great exercise to have the scholars respond to and then share the responses, because the user can then see what other people have written. This is a great lesson in perspective and point of view. How each scholar responds to each word becomes the vocabulary exercise in class. This is another fun program that has deep implications in vocabulary appreciation.

The third program is Wordle. This program is phenomenal. The maker calls it "a toy that creates a 'word clouds' with our own text." So I put in the poem, "The Road Not Taken" and was stunned at the "word cloud." The "word cloud" shows the most frequently used words than others by simple size. (Click on image to see more) By taking a passage and submitting it, the key words are bigger than the others. This is a great pre reading exercise for all readers. It clues them into the key words of what is about to be read. Take your favorite poem, or scene from a play, or short piece of prose and create a "word cloud." You will be stunned. Another neat trick is to take an article from the newspaper and create a "word cloud" to see the words that pop out.

When something is fun and educates, we need to pay attention to it and watch the results.

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