Where did it all start?
Truthfully, I have no idea. Words have just been a fascination to me throughout life. There are certain words that hooked me in. You know, the words that just ‘sound cool’. Maelstrom. Decimate. Frenetic. Incandescent. Perplex. Miasma. I can’t explain it, words are simply awesome. And it’s this sort of attitude that we, as teachers, must be instilling in the children we teach. Lots of children have a natural curiosity towards words. They will ask, ‘oh, what does that mean?’. Of course, there are those that don’t, but that is for a future post. I read a thesaurus on a regular basis. I read fiction with a notebook next to me to record new words, then discover their meanings, synonyms, and etymologies later. And my kids know it.
What do I want to do with this blog?
BIG IDEA: an unrelenting, day-in-day-out focus on developing a rich, varied vocabulary will change your classroom; will change your teaching; will change your children; will change their lives.
I want this blog to be a smorgasbord (check out the origins of that word, it’s quite extraordinary) for teaching ideas, strategies, research, links to books, links to other blogs/articles, and, arguably most importantly, a running commentary of my own classroom practice in terms of cultivating an attitude where vocabulary is the driving pulse of everything we do. I genuinely believe it’s that crucial.
Plus, I want to share the bad. And the ugly. Sure, it’s great telling people about all the positive stuff we’re doing. But everyone knows that we must fail to succeed, simply because we all do it. I want to share what’s not worked with the class, what hasn’t been successful for a specific group of children.
NB: I will be focusing on primary, in the main. However, my interest in the subject goes right down to early word learning and speech development. So don’t be put off if you’re an EYFS teacher – there will be something for you at various intervals.
Next up …
So, there you have a glimpse into the reasons why I’m doing this. I plan (always set out with good intentions!) to post once weekly. And, seeing as today is Thursday, Thursday shall be the day.
Next blog: 2016/17 vocabulary review – what have I done in the classroom over the course of this school year that’s worked/not worked/or just … had a stab at?
If you can spare a further two minutes, please answer these questions in the comments section:
What is your favourite word?
What would you like to see most of in this blog? (e.g. teaching ideas, games, strategies, research, classroom-based practice …)
Twitter: @Mr_P_Hillips – please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Always up for a chat about words.