Posted in Food for Thought

The Power of Words

I think the power words have is often underestimated. I think because they’re so easy to say and so small and casual when printed that people forget how much weight and power words have. But the truth is, in my opinion, words are the most powerful thing out there. Words are everything. Let’s think about the enormity of this for a minute:

  1. Words are how we communicate. We might not all speak the same language, but we all communicate using the same foundation – words. Without words there would be a lot less communication, sharing of ideas, and collaborating.
  2. Words are how we share stories. They’re how we share fiction and non-fiction. Think about how sad a place the world would be without stories.
  3. Words are how we connect with other people. Words can lift someone up or break someone down. We have an enormous amount of power with our words, and we choose on a regular basis if we’ll use that power for good or evil.

Words have power, but that power is often underestimated or undervalued. I think it’s time we do something to change that. We need to teach our students about the power of words.


Posted in Classroom Ideas

Sharing Words

I love words. I love collecting them and fitting them together. I love seeing how other people fit them together. I love seeing the messages they can send and the power they can hold. Words are powerful, and it’s important to remember that and to teach students that.

I read this fantastic article on Edutopia. It’s titled “The Perfect Classroom”, and it was all about a teacher who brought her class together and had them all shared words. Some people shared poems. Other people shared quotes or song lyrics or phrases they’d heard.

To me, it sounds awesome. It sounds like one of the most amazing things I could do in my future classroom.

You can read the article here. And as always, tell me what you think.


Posted in Classroom Ideas, Teaching Techniques

Journal Prompts

I like journaling. I think it can be a really powerful and important tool for students. It teaches them the power of words and writing, and it gives them a voice they may not have known they had. I also understand that free writing can be difficult for students, can get them off task or off topic, or simply might lead to results you never wanted. That’ where journal prompts enter the picture.

Here are a few things that are great about journal prompts:

  • They give students something specific to write about.
  • They allow you, the teacher, to control the conversation.
  • They can lead to really great discussion.
  • They’re a great entryway into class and what the lesson will be about.

Chances are, I could ramble on and on about why using journal prompts in your classroom is a good idea. I could certainly expand upon each of the prompts I just mentioned. But sometimes brief is the best way to go, the way to get the point best across.


Posted in Teaching Techniques

Word Walls

I envisioned having a more elegant title for this post, but I don’t.

Here’s the thing. I like words. I’ve always liked words. Words are powerful and beautiful and meaningful. Words and communication are what make the world go round. We as individuals needs to understand words to be a part of all that.

Sometimes words are easy to understand. We know them from the time we’re small. They have images associated with them. But then there are words which don’t fit into that category. They sound funny or are hard to say. We don’t picture what they mean. We’ve never heard them before.

That’s where a word wall comes in. Picture a wall covered in note cards. Each note card has two things written on it – a word and the word’s definition. The students have chosen these words, looked up the definitions, created the note cards. Students are directly creating vocabulary and classroom content.

Isn’t education just a little bit better when students get to play a role in what they’re learning?