Every Friday I’ll send you a wonderful website that my classes and my parents love. I think you’ll find they’ll be a favorite of your students as they are of mine.
3rd grade-8th grade
Visuwords is an online graphical dictionary where you can look up words to find their meanings and associations with other words and concepts. The tool enables you to produce diagrams and learn how words associate and is another of the great Open Source websites (yes, they give their source code as well as the web site away for free)–like Visual Thesaurus, Wordle, Tagxedo–that makes the study of words as visual as a picture.You plug a word into the search field and up pops the connections to other words, its part of speech as well as associated words. If the net is particularly large, you can scroll in or out with the mouse wheel to see the big picture or the details. You can also click-drag the picture to focus in on disparate parts.
My fifth graders plugged words in and loved watching the clouds that grew from the simple start. Then they dragged a node and watched the entire net re-adapt to the new position.
Anything that gets kids excited about words, I’m all for.
Jacqui Murray is the editor of a technology curriculum for K-fifth grade and author of two technology training books for middle school. She wrote Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy midshipman. She is webmaster for five blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for Examiner.com, and a weekly contributor to Write Anything and Technology in Education. Currently, she’s working on a techno-thriller that should be ready this summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office, WordDreams, or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.