Sunday, June 23, 2013


If I could make one improvement in the language, I'd rename the numbers:.

I'd change "ten" to:"onety" and then count like this: 
one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine. onety!
Onety-one, onety-two, onety-three, onety-four, onety-five, onety-six, onety-seven, onety-eight, onety-nine, and then twenty. 

Instead of having a language that obscures the number system creating years of unnecessary confusion, we'd have a simple language that teaches the basics of our number system. This would save teachers and students vast amounts of currently-wasted time which could be invested in more useful learning. Or allow for more PE, recess, art, or music!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Confusing Terms

There are words in English that are spelled the same but are pronounced differently and mean different things. It's really confusing. Here's some examples:

Bass - A type of fish.
Bass - A string instrument

Mobile - The city in Alabama
mobile - A synonym of movable or portable

Live - The opposite of dead
Live - A verb meaning where you reside. Example, I live in America.

The Vocabulary site VocabularySpellingCity has a whole useful page about these types of words which are called heteronyms.  I'll quote a bit:

Heteronyms (also known as heterophones) are words that are spelled the same, but have different pronunciations and different meanings. In some cases, the words have similar or related meanings, such as record (verb) and record (noun) – The artist willrecord his new record in the studio this week. In other cases, the words may be completely unrelated, like bow (a knot tied with two loops) and bow (to bend forward at the waist out of respect) – The little girl with the red bow tied in her hair took a bow at the end of the recital. Context clues are crucial to determining which pronunciation (and meaning) is represented by a heteronym.

Monday, May 27, 2013


I just read one of the better written posts that I have in awhile, it reminds me why I like blogging. I got permission to quote it in its entirety below, it's about the Ping-O-Matic.
What a name! Since I first heard the word, almost five years ago, I’ve been a little in love with it.  
The Ping-O-Matic service.  Or it a Ping-O-Matic website? Or is it just the Ping-O-Matic? The name reeks of Jetson-like futuristic automation.  And check out their logo, not so amazing but still pretty cool! 
Despite my adulation of their name, I do have some questions about their service.  Does it do anything?  Specifically, lets say that I had set up a blog on Blogger or WordPress.  In fact, I have. This one for instance.  There is a setting somewhere (which I can’t seem to find today) as to whether I want the site to be listed in the search engines. I think the question use to be:
“Automatically update search engines with no posts?  Yes / No”
Does the Ping-O-Matic do anything more than the automated notifying of search engines than the big blog platforms do?  I’m open to answers in the comments.
And I have a second question, does the Ping-O-Matic do anything useful for forum posts or even for websites?  And, in hopes of getting an actual answer from the Ping-O-Matic people (or androids or bots or whatever species would build and manage a Ping-O-Matic), I’ll link to one of their posts here hoping that the magic of link backs will get their attention.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Sports Idioms

Sports Expressions or Idioms
I just got interested in doing more with this blog as a way of reviving my interest in the language.  So I joined a forum and started to respond to a post.  There was a question by someone about the word "playbook."

I googled around and found on vocabularyspellingcity a list of words for sports idioms.

Other terms on that list:  curveball, homerun, grand slam, first base, at bat, and last inning.  I tried to post a link to the list onto the forum but ran into a forum rule that doesn't let new members post links. I guess that makes sense but it does annoy me that I was trying to be helpful, chased down a list with sports expressions used in sentences and then couldn't actually provide it to them in a useful fashion.  I did find several other resources on figurative language which I've not played with for awhile:

Language arts lesson on figurative language.
Idioms or Slang Games.
Idioms Kids Games.
Sports Idioms Site.
Jean Henry's blog on sports idioms including a post on Breasts and Curveballs!

BTW - I just found out that forum banned me for including references to just two of these resources on sports idioms.  So much for community....

Friday, May 17, 2013

Single Sign On

Is "single sign on" becoming an English vocabulary term? What does it mean?  I think of a single sign on "SSO" to be a system where a single username and password can be used across a range of different facilities. For instance, Google and Wordpress and Twitter are use the OpenID credentials so that with the same identity, you can login to any site that accepts those credentials.

The seamless feature of single sign-on in this integration is an enormous step in making technology and programs like VocabularySpellingCity more accessible and practical in students' everyday learning.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Studying Words Lists with Technology

Teachers use word lists in many ways. They're used to:

  •  to introduce a content area and evoke prior knowledge
  •  review content,
  • to teach phonics rule with a list organized around a phonics rules such sight, bright, and light.
  • to highlight some spelling rules to pay attention to (ie multiple ways of writing the same sound):  bright, bite, fight, height etc
  • to teach suffixes, prefixes, and word roots. For example: telephone, homophone, microphone
In almost every subject, word lists are an effective tool.  Does your classroom or school have a standard technology or method of dealing with word lists? Should you?

VocabularySpellingCity allows teachers and parents to set up a free homepage to store as many word lists as they want for their students.  There are 10 free learning games to use with any list (ie a spelling test, HangMan,  word unscramblewordsearch, hangman alphabetical order practice,).  Premium Members ($2 per student per year or less) have  another 16 different learning games and objects to use covering writing activities (write a sentence showing you understand the use of each word), word definitions, the use of words in context, plus all your favorite games (using your own lists)  such as crossword puzzle, Letterfall, and Speedy Speller.

There are also teaching resources with lessons and activities, all correlated to educational standards, on topics such as: