Fingerprint Words

Matthew J.X. Malady has written a terrific essay about word choice for Slate. It’s a great exploration of how our vocabulary defines us. It’s a thoughtful and complicated text that would be a great close read for a senior class… or could be cut down for a junior class.  You might consider using it as a prompt prior to a novel discussion group meeting. Senior students could read the article and then apply the thinking to the choices the author of their book made in creating the text’s characters. Junior students could read an edited version of the article and identify the “fingerprint words” of some of the main characters in the text.

In a Writer’s Craft class, I think this article could be a great launching pad for some narrative writing.

Fingerprint Words from Slate.com

P.S. – Isn’t J.X. Malady a great name for a fictional villain?  Students could create a list of great character names and the “fingerprint words” that would define them.

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Why teens love dystopian stories…

Divergent won the box office race last weekend as teens raced to see the popular YA novel brought to life (my daughter saw it twice in three days).  Slate.com film critic Dana Stevens has a slightly snarky take on why teens find dystopian stories so appealing.

Why teens love dystopias” – article with study questions.

Her article is not an easy read, but might provide an example of how an engaging topic and strong prior knowledge can help students bridge vocabulary challenges.  The final paragraph of the article includes the words:  “realpolitik”, “allegorical”, “multitiered”, “affiliation”, “constrictively”, and “malevolent”. Rather than pre-teach the vocabulary, consider challenging the students to closely read the final paragraph and construct meaning using strategies they devise.