Category: Wordsmyth features
About the Word(s) of the Day
Every weekday we feature two words: Word of the Day and Academic Vocabulary of the Day. The rationale and target audience for each is different.
Academic Vocabulary of the Day is aimed at intermediate to advanced English language learners and middle and high school native speakers who need exposure to Tier 2 academic vocabulary words.
The words are selected from the 2000 most frequent general academic vocabulary words in American English. These 2000 words come from Mark Davies’ analysis of published academic texts in the Corpus of Contemporary American English. This academic vocabulary list is comparable to Coxhead’s Academic Word List (AWL), but is based on 120 million words of academic texts in the 425 million word corpus. Words are considered to be general academic vocabulary if they fulfill these criteria:
They appear at least 50% more frequently in academic texts than in non-academic texts;
Across disciplines, they appear more frequently than in non-academic texts. In other words, they are words important in all academic domains, rather than specialized, domain-specific technical terms.
Finally, they are among the 2000 most frequent of these general academic terms–the core.
Because the context in which the Academic Vocabulary Word of the Day will be most useful is academic writing, we also highlight the sense or senses of these words that are most frequently used in academic discourse. For example, the verb “conduct” has an important meaning of “leading an orchestra,” and a specialized meaning in the study of electricity, yet in the context of general academic vocabulary, the most important meaning is “to carry out or lead,” as in “conduct a study/investigation/seminar.”
The Academic Vocabulary of the Day words belong to the Tier 2 words which have been identified as of especial importance in the Common Core State Standards.
Word of the Day
Word of the Day covers less frequent, more advanced Tier 2 words, useful for SAT study and for acquiring a wider and deeper knowledge of English words. The Word of the Day is drawn from levels 3 to 5 (grades 7-12+) of the Wordsmyth Vocabulary Index (WVI), a forthcoming resource covering vocabulary words for K-12+ in five levels. WOTD is often accompanied by images, quotations from literature, or other aids to word learning, such as Greek and Latin roots and endings.
Wordsmyth offers a free school subscription for 2013-14 school year
Wordsmyth loves teachers. Teachers make up a significant portion of our user base, and developing literacy and vocabulary tools and resources that serve the needs of classrooms motivates much of what Wordsmyth is planning for the future.
Earlier this year, we introduced a paid subscription option for individual users who want the benefit of premium features. A paid educational group subscription is in the pipeline, but to allow teachers and their students to try the premium subscription features, we are offering a free educational group subscription for the 2013-14 school year. Members of a subscribed school will have access to an ad-free site with a dedicated school URL, and other premium features such as unlimited saving and sharing of activities, use of up to 50 words in activities, Spanish support, and more.
In addition, subscribed schools will also have free use of new content and tools that will become available in the next few months: the extensive Wordsmyth Word Parts (roots and affixes) reference integrated with dictionary entries, and powerful search filters that allow users to perform focused dictionary searches to more easily generate subsets of the dictionary for specific purposes.
Enrollment in the free educational group subscription is a quick, easy process. Send us a request right now, or view a list of subscription features here.
There is also a FAQ about how the free school subscription works.
In Latin, focus means “hearth” or “fireplace.” It entered English in the 1600s as a word for the point where rays of light meet. The meaning “center of activity or energy” came into use in the 1700s. Because the hearth was for centuries the center of home life, it is not surprising that, today, several of the meanings of focus have something to do with a center or meeting point.
If you enjoyed this word history, try looking up these words in the Word Explorer Dictionary for Children: weird, compassion, barbecue, curfew, and gossip. Some of these histories will surprise you!
Meet your free Wordsmyth Dictionary Widget
The Wordsmyth Blog now comes accessorized with the nifty Wordsmyth Dictionary Widget. The Dictionary Widget is also available free from our website (here). Because it needs to be experienced to be fully appreciated, we’ve made it easy for you to try it here on our blog pages.
Try it here, now
1. Look in the upper right corner of this page. You’ll see the widget with a search box.
2. Double-click on any word on this page–a word in this or the following sentence, for example: Don’t clutter my etagere with your gimcracks!
3. You’ll see the word you clicked on appear in the widget search box, and, lo and behold, a concise entry for the word will appear in the widget. The concise entry includes pronunciation, audio pronunciation, part of speech, definitions, examples, and even images. To view the complete entry (with synonyms, antonyms, and derived words), click on the ‘See full entry’ link.
4. Don’t like the widget in the upper right corner? You can drag it to any spot in the window and it will stay there unless you move it. You can also shrink or expand the widget window, or close it, by clicking on the icons in the upper right corner of the widget. If you close the widget, it will remain closed until you double-click on a word. The diagonal arrow is another way to go to the full dictionary entry.
Look up any word on any webpage
If you would like to be able to look up any word on any web page in the same way, visit our widget page at the Comprehensive Dictionary or the Word Explorer Dictionary for Children. All you have to do to install it is drag the link for the Wordsmyth Floater or Wordsmyth Pop-up Widget to your browser toolbar. (For more information, see our FAQ.)
Let us know what you (or your students) think!