Monday, December 10, 2012

Vocabulary and "WordSift"

Recently, I attended an RTI workshop emphasizing the importance of vocabulary instruction in the new Common Core State Standards.  It just so happened that I also watched a webinar sponsored by Scholastic and USC Rossier School of Education on adapting to the CCSS which, coincidentally, also included the topic of language and vocabulary.  Then, while searching out some new apps for iPad, I discovered this amazing website that is a perfect tool for enhancing lessons involving complex vocabulary and thought I would share it with you: 

This website has numerous features enabling a teacher or student to focus on the words that are essential to the understanding of a piece of text.  WordSift is easy to use.  The first step is to cut and paste any text into the text box.  The program quickly identifies important words that appear in the text.  Unlike other word cloud type programs, this program has some features that are important to teachers such as the ability to mark and sort different lists of words.  For example, words can be sorted by domain and appear in color if they relate to that particular domain.  Other functions include visualization of word thesaurus relationships, and Google® searches of images and videos.  In addition, when clicking on any word in the Tag Cloud, the program displays instances of sentences in which that word is used in the text.

Uses for teachers could include, but are not limited to: preparing lessons, previewing text with students, small group activities, supporting literacy, and assessment.

I can't wait to try this in my classroom!  I hope you find it useful!

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