Vertical Collaboration and the Crazy Dictionary

Frindle: Words from Mr. Hodgson on Vimeo.

Today, we will be jumping on our class wiki site and students will be adding newly-invented words to an ongoing collaborative project: constructing a dictionary of made-up words. It’s called collaborative because since 2005, my students have each been adding one or two words every year to the Crazy Collaborative Dictionary wiki site (and adding podcasts the last few years). We now have about 500 words on the site, and another 80 or so will be added to the mix this year.

What I find interesting is that many of my current students have older siblings who also took part in the Crazy Collaborative Dictionary, which means they are collaborating across time. This is one of the beauties of an online space – the collaboration can go horizontal (across class) and vertical (across time).

They began their work last week as I read parts of the book Frindle by Andrew Clements to them. A fair number had read the book when they were younger, but there are some wonderful sections in there about the power of words and language. We then talked about William Shakespeare and his impact on our language even today. We spoke about the framework of Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet and other plays, and the foundation they have laid for so many plot devices in movies and books today. And we talked about how Shakespeare introduced hundreds of new words and phrases to our language, finding gaps between what he wanted to say and what words were available to express that meaning.

I have shared some of the newest words in the Oxford English Dictionary from 2010:

And showcased some past words from the Crazy Dictionary:

Today, they will get on the wiki, add their words, create a podcast of their word and definition, create a wall chart of their new words and begin to have fun with this invented language.

Who knows what words will emerge today?

Peace (in the language),

One Comment
  1. Pingback: Listening to (Invented) Words | Kevin's Meandering Mind

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