Inventing words, Wiki-style

As part of my students’ study of how words enter the English language, they were given the assignment of coming up with three of their own made-up words (See the book Frindle by Andrew Clements for some inspiration). I have done this each year and have had my students share their words via our class Weblog.

This year, I decided that a Wiki makes the most sense, particularly if we are creating a collaborative document, which we essentially are doing as a dictionary. So I used my Wikispaces site and, with a brainstorm that hits in the middle of the night, first moved all the invented words from 2005 and 2006 students to the space. With the 2007 student words added, there are now more than 200 invented words in the dictionary.

Yesterday, my students were on the Wiki, adding in their words. We also decided to add an audio version of the words, so everyone sat down and read their words and definitions, and then I linked the audio to their entry. Very neat!


Head to the Crazy Dictionary of the Norris Sixth Grade

Peace (with invention).

  1. Kevin,
    You should check out the Dictionary of American Regional English with your kids. Folks at the DARE circled the country asking folks from deep in Appalachia to the swamps of Louisiana to the coasts of California what their words were for a certain concept such as “friend” then collected these for their dictionary. Check out their website, complete with audio samples!
    And there’s a great story on the making of this dictionary called “Beyond Words: Mapping the Backroads of American Speech” found here. It’s a fascinating story and one I’ve woven into my middle grade novel, Sweet Blueberry Pie!

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