I came up with this idea while trying to teach my children how to use the dictionary to look up words. (It turned out to be so much fun- and challenging, they play it now, well into their teens.) Of course, nowadays not many people use dictionaries, unless they are online versions. Online dictionaries do not give the user a sense of place and location of words. Not being able to alphabetize to the third , fourth and fifth letter leaves a person with a handicap as well as a gap in their learning. I believe the Dictionary Game helps to prevent and/or rectify the problem of
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Step 1: Materials
• One or more players
• Hard copy of a dictionary – (level depends on the age of the players. Chose a dictionary that will be challenging but not overwhelming. )
• Paper and pencil for all participants.
• List of words . (words could be spelling/vocab list, or words you decide on arbitrarily. Make sure the words are not in alphabetical order. (You may want to alphabetize them for younger children.)
Step 2: Beginning
Open dictionary to its very first word and very last word – have everyone note the page numbers.
. Each player makes a score card with four columns and the following headings:
WORD – GUESS – ACTUAL - POINTS
Step 3: Round One
Have everyone write the first word in WORD column. Have each player write a guess for the dictionary page on which the word will be found. This is often some of the funniest times in the game when people are trying to make up their minds.
My first word is " j i n x ". My guess is that it will be found on page 594.
Step 4: Round One Con't
The word is looked up. The definition is read and the page number stated. The page number is listed under ACTUAL.
Points will be the difference between the actual and the guess page numbers.
Ex: . The actual page was 658. I subtract my guess from the actual page number and the difference is written under points. (You don’t want to have the most points.) If the actual is less than the guess, subtract the actual from the guess.
My points for that round 44.
Step 5: Subsequent Rounds
Continue with the next word until all words on the list are complete
(Usually, in the first few rounds everyone will be racking up quite a few points, but once one begins to get a sense of the scope and depth of the dictionary, and skills get more refined, the points will begin to decrease for all.)
Ex. After looking up the eight words on the list, my final total was: 173 points.
Remember the person with the lowest score wins, because they had a better sense of where the words were located.
Step 6: Remember
This game can be modified in a number of ways.
Additional columns can be added in which players make a guess at the part of speech of the word before it is looked up. Points can be subtracted if someone has written down the correct part of speech or if they knew the definition of the word before it was read.
For more of a challenge, add additional penalty points for guesses that exceed the actual. (Extra built in math practice. ) Did you guess I am a homeschooling mom?
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