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Ally Cohen
Sarasota Wednesday, Sep. 15, 2010 9 years ago

CLASSROOM SPOTLIGHT: Temple Beth Sholom Schools

by: Loren Mayo Black Tie Editor

Temple Beth Sholom teacher Aaron Goldberg invited his sixth-grade language arts class on a journey to discover new words today.

“We’re taking boring, lame, old dead-tired words and giving them a funeral,” Goldberg said. “Students are learning how to use the thesaurus and find synonyms in (Microsoft) Word documents.”

After students turn a piece of brown construction paper into a tombstone for the words and come up with a eulogy, the artwork will become decorative pieces for the classroom walls.

“In the past, we’ve taken pipe cleaners and tissue paper to put as a base, and I even play Chopin’s 'Funeral March,'" Goldberg said.

Ally Cohen
What word did you send to R.I.P.?
I chose "happy" because I always used happy, and I could never find anything else. Now, I can use other words like "enjoyable," "cheerful" and "glad."

Did you find this lesson helpful?
It was helpful because now that we’ve done this project, we can use other words when we write essays and when we do writing projects.

Do you prefer activities like this one?
You learn more when you’re having fun and enjoy it more.

Amelia Russell
What word did you send to R.I.P.?
"Short," because people call me short. Other words to use instead are "petite," "undersized" and "diminutive."

Is your teacher playing funeral march music?
It’s a bit weird, but fun because most schools, if I asked them, they would never even think of doing that.

Has this lesson been fun?
I think it’s a good way to start the year so that we don’t use these words in the future. It lets you be creative and shows our teachers what we can really do.

Why is it important to expand your vocabulary?
So when we grow up, we’re not stuck using these words over and over. People will think we’re grown up because we’re not using these baby words.

Conor Brady
What word did you send to R.I.P.?
"Bad." I was going to do "cold" or "hot," but two people took them.

What did you learn about the word “bad?”
My eulogy is supposed to say that "bad" died by an awful, terrible, but not bad, writer.

Do you prefer lessons like this one?
It’s pretty fun. Normally, we don’t get to really do stuff like this. It helps us know to not use these words too much.

Erica Lester
What is today’s lesson?
We are killing words that are used, but are not the best words that we can use. We’re finding synonyms and making tombstones.

What word did you send to R.I.P.?
My tombstone says, “In loving memory of ‘pretty.’ Writing with you hasn’t been attractive, cute, appealing or sweet. It’s been pretty."

How does this activity compare to others?
It’s been fine. I like it either way, I just find doing vocabulary and spelling to be fun.

Why is learning vocabulary important?
It’s important because it can help you in your upcoming life and career. If you’re a writer, you need to have good vocabulary and grammar skills.

Matthew Strauss
How are you feeling about your word?
My word is "fat." I feel proud. The word deserved to have a new meaning. It deserved to be down and a new word deserves to have control.

What did you learn from this activity?
I learned that "fat" had a nice early life, but now plump and obese are in control.

Do you prefer unconventional activities to traditional?
It’s the best and most fun project we’ve had in language arts this year.

Contact Loren Mayo at [email protected].



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