Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Retired Words - Teaching Tuesday

Today's Teaching Tuesday Tip is: Retired Words

If you are a teacher then you have surely read many a journal entry that included such fine phrases as, "It was fun."  One of our many tasks is to improve upon their vocabulary.  This is a "fun", errr, make that an engaging way to do just that. 

We retire the word.

Starting in the fall we retire a word a week.  We have a little retirement party (which involves me in a party hat and a noisemaker) on Fridays and we bid farewell to an overused word.  Words like big, fun, cool, and nice are overworked and need a break.  The children are responsible for bringing a gift to the party.  The gift is a synonym to take it's place.  They are encouraged to brainstorm them at home.  Once a word goes into retirement they are not allowed to use it in their writing.  Instead they must use one of the new words that we brainstormed together.

It's catchy and motivating.  They take it very seriously.  They call me on it when I use a retired word.  I made a silly little display for my words with a retirement theme.  

I did a cowboy/western theme and that year the words were "put out to pasture."  I had cute cows and everything.

I love cute things.

When I did a Hollywood theme I went with "Washed Up Words."  I thought it was very clever, but it may have been lost on the 8 year old demographic before me.  Still, I crack myself up.

Next year I'm leaning towards an adventure/safari theme and will probably use "Extinct Words" to mark words as no longer available for use in the classroom.

I have seen this done as R.I.P. words where the word is written on a gravestone with replacements under it.  To each his own, but that sort of creeps me out.

What words do you feel your kids overuse?


Stacey said...

Great idea! Savings this in my file right now. :)

Anonymous said...

I've seen on proteacher use W.O.W (worn out words).

Anonymous said...

I like how you encorporate this into every theme you have. The writing program in my district uses "put tired words to bed".