A blog to share information on literacy strategies across contents and grade levels. Metacognitive strategies included. "Metacognition is, put simply, thinking about one's thinking. More precisely, it refers to the processes used to plan, monitor, and assess one's understanding and performance. Metacognition includes a critical awareness of a) one's thinking and learning and b) oneself as a thinker and learner." -- Vanderbilt University
A new word is like a fresh seed sewn on the ground of the discussion.
I've always loved Ralph Fletcher's advice that vocabulary
instruction is all about helping students fall in love with words. But
what does that look like, and how do we help students feel the love?
Teaching students to look for portmanteaus and eggcorns
is a fun way to build word awareness.
favorite new word is a portmanteau. The Choice Literacy website server
briefly crashed and restarted a few weeks ago. A message was sent by
email to alert me to the problem, noting the site was up and running
after "a restart was attempted automagically." I chuckled at that word
"automagically." From now on anything wonderful that happens in my life
with no effort on my part will be something that happened
A portmanteau combines two words and their meanings into one new word (in this case, automatic and magical). Discovering a new portmanteau is like finding a buried treasure in a text. Portmanteau has both French and English roots, derived from a term for a suitcase with two compartments. Smog and frenemy are also examples of portmanteaus.
More recently I've had fun with eggcorns, which are sort
of practical-joke kissing cousins of portmanteaus. An eggcorn is a
substitution for a word or phrase that may shift its meaning, but still
makes sense in the context. Eggcorns are usually accidental on the part
of the speaker -- cold slaw for cole slaw, old timer's disease for Alzheimer's disease.
When I was a snarky teen, my best friend and I enjoyed how her grandma
would exclaim over the nice "sediment" in Hallmark greeting cards. We
found the corny words a little sludgy too.
Lists of portmanteaus and eggcorns abound on the web, and
once you've introduced them to students, they will no doubt find many
examples to share on a class graffiti board or online log. Exploring the
origins of these creative words and phrases, both accidental and
purposeful, is a great way into conversations about how language evolves
and meanings vary in different contexts.
This week we look at word learning in content areas. Plus more as always -- enjoy!
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Last chance to register for Jennifer Allen's Literacy Coach Jumpstart online course that runs February 5-16 and includes three on-demand webinars, the Layered Coaching DVD, Jen's book Becoming a Literacy Leader,
and personal response from Jen tailored to your needs on the class
discussion board. The class won't be offered again before the summer. Choice Literacy and Lead Literacy members receive a $50 discount off the course fee. Click on the link below for more details: