Do You Know the Meaning of This Word?

Boys and Girls,

Do you like to learn new words and their meanings? I do.

Recently, I was asking Siri a question. This is how she answered me. She said, “I’m cogitating.” This is a big word. Do you know the meaning of this word?¬†

When I heard it, I thought to myself, ” I don’t know if I know the correct meaning of this word.”

Do you know where I looked to find out the meaning?

Yes, I looked in a dictionary.

I found out that this big word is a verb or action word and it means to think deeply about something; to meditate or reflect. This is funny because a computer can’t really do this but people who create and program the computers can think deeply.

What are some things you like to think about that make you feel happy? Do you ever spend quiet time thinking good thoughts about something you have read in a book? ūüôā¬†

If your parent gives you permission, please share a happy memory or good thought which will make others feel happy, too.

Fun with Words

I learned the meanings of two new words this week. The words are: plenipotentiary and cogitating. (For fun, see if you can find these words in other blog posts on my Website.)

Since childhood, I’ve been interested in exploring the meanings of words. Yet, I remember having to work hard to do well on vocabulary tests when I was in school.

I’m the type of learner who needs to have a lot of repetition and must use a multi-sensory approach to acquire new vocabulary. Your child may benefit also from a multi-sensory approach, (seeing, hearing, and doing hands-on activities).

As we teach, we have an opportunity to instill a love of reading with fun vocabulary building activities, remembering each child learns differently. It’s important to take into account how each child learns.

Here are some activities to encourage vocabulary acquisition using multi-sensory techniques:

1. Play word games such as I’m “Thinking of a Word.”

Give verbal clues to describe the word. When giving clues, be sure to mention the part of speech to help teach grammar usage. Also, you could say a sentence and then orally give two choices of words to fill in the blank and see if your child can tell which one is correct. (This type of “game” is fun to play while traveling.) Your child could write the word in the air with his pointer finger.

2. Create a word bank using a card file and index cards or using an on-line file.

On the cards, you could write the word neatly and let your child use colored pencils, markers or highlighters to trace over the words. (Certain colors could be chosen to represent the various parts of speech) On the back of the card, your child could draw a simple picture or write a sentence to show understanding. These word cards could be filed behind cards with alphabet tabs. Review cards by letting your child read the words silently and then he can give the clues about the word’s meaning so you can try to guess the word.

3. Play a variation of the game “Pictionary”, using the words your child is learning.

He could use dry markers and a dry mark board to write his answers or to draw the pictures related to the words. A whole class could do this activity.

4. Create crossword puzzles.

(There are also free apps with word games.)

5. Model for your child how you find the meanings of new words using both on-line dictionaries and hard copy dictionaries.

Make it fun by seeing who can find the words the fastest.

6. Allow your primary aged child the opportunity to write his words in a tray spread with shaving cream, using his pointer finger as you call out the word’s meaning.

Or this could be done to practice for spelling tests.

7. Challenge each other to learn a new word each day or week.

Post these new words somewhere in the house or classroom (i.e. On refrigerator for the week; on a designated larger board). Share at one of your mealtimes the words you’ve found and where you discovered the word. Or in the classroom, call on children to share when you’re in line waiting to go to lunch or when there’s some available time.

8. Add the words you’re child discovers and learns on his own to a calendar marked for this special purpose.

Your child will have fun counting the words he/she learns throughout the year.

9. Did you know you can easily find the definition of a word in text on your phone?

All you have to do is press and hold on the word until the “look up” command appears. Your children may enjoy helping you find meanings of words this way.

10. Games such as Balderdash, Scattegories, and Scrabble are great for building vocabulary.

Please let me know which of these activities you try. Share others, too, so we can pass on treasures of the trade.

Fall Fun in Tennessee

Fall Fun in Tennessee

Fall season is a beautiful season in Tennessee. I feel so blessed to live in a state where I get to see the change of seasons.


Taken in Pigeon Forge, TN.

When the leaves of the deciduous trees change colors, the nature scenes in all parts of the state and nearby states are glorious!
Fall, with the arrival of more comfortable temperatures, is the perfect time to get outside with the children in your lives.

Here are some ideas for activities you can do with your children:

1. Go on walk or fall hike in a nearby park.

Take a bag or let your child wear a backpack so that he or she may collect special treasures (ie. acorns or other nuts, colorful leaves, small rocks/fossils). Along the way, tell stories sharing your childhood memories about making fall discoveries or collections.


My husband, Eric, and grandsons on a fall hike at Owl Creek Park, Brentwood, TN.

2. If you and your child collect leaves, you can preserve them by putting the leaves between wax paper and ironing over the wax paper.

Your child will probably enjoy watching you do this and then helping to cut around the leaves. If you have a lot of these “preserved leaves” they could be used to decorate a dining table for Thanksgiving. Or they could be used to play a sorting game, sorting by shape or color. Older children may enjoy making a scrapbook, mounting and labeling their leaves.


3. Researching with your child why the leaves change color is also a fun activity to do together.

Before researching on-line or at the library, ask your child to predict why the leaves change. You may want to record his or her response. When your child is older, you could listen to his/her response or watch the video together to create happy memories as you laugh together about the prediction.


4. Raking together is great exercise and every child I have ever known loves to jump in a big pile of leaves.

Be sure to take photos of your child in the pile. You may want to do this each year to put in a time-line type frame, showing the growth of your child and his leaf piles.


Picture was¬†taken at the 39th Annual Harvest Days Celebration at Cannonsburgh Village in Murfreesboro, TN. This year’s celebration is on Saturday, October 22nd, 2016.

Learn more here: 

5. Look for the free parent magazines often located in stands at local grocery stores or libraries.

You can also find these magazines on-line. In these magazines, you can usually find a listing of free or low-cost events. For example, in the October 2016 Williamson County, TN Parent magazine, there is a chronological list of October things to do beginning on page 31 and ending on page 87. There is even a fall fun pull out guide! Your child might like to look at the magazine with you to plan some special fall outings. Show him/her how to put these events on a calendar.


6. Post a comment together on this blog or on the children’s blog.

I look forward to hearing about your fall adventures.

Arrival of the Fall Season

Arrival of the Fall Season

Are you as excited as I am about the arrival of the fall season?

During the fall I would visit my grandmother in Liberty, Kentucky. While I was there, one of my favorite fall activities was raking leaves. I recall a time when my younger sister, Linda, and I raked a huge pile of yellow, orange, and red leaves. When we finished raking, we took turns jumping in the leaves.

Once when I got out of the leaf pile, I had something long and almost transparent clinging to my clothes. Can you guess what it was?

Post a comment to tell me what you think it was – be sure to get your parent’s or teacher’s permission.

Share about your fall collections, activities, and adventures too.

Scavenger Hunts

Scavenger Hunts

Scavenger hunts are a lot of fun to do with your students, especially during the fall season. My students got so excited when they had the extra opportunity to be outside.

When you design the scavenger hunt, you can definitely address the required standards at any grade level. Be sure to pair a stronger reader with the students who might have trouble reading the questions. Guide the stronger readers ahead of time as to how to be a peer assistant.

When I worked as a special education teacher in a 3rd-grade classroom, the general education teacher and I established several questions related to the science curriculum. We were teaching the children observation skills. We worded the questions so the children would use their five senses to find items in nature.

For example:

  • Find something that feels rough.
  • Look for a red leaf from a deciduous¬†tree.
  • Name two items you saw that you can also smell.
  • What is a sound you heard while you were outside?
  • Name the liquid you drank before coming inside.

If you don’t want them to collect the items, give the children a clipboard and paper to record their responses.

Share your ideas for scavenger hunts in your classroom or outside. 

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