Monday, 14 May 2018

Project 34: Dictionaries

Dictionaries were chosen as this week's project for a couple of reasons: 1) Solomon is at an age where he needs to start looking up spellings for himself, and 2) having been stuck inside for a week with chickenpox we wanted something with a nice trip out, and Dr Johnson's London house is easily accessible by train. Unfortunately, whilst the dictionary section of the work went well, two more of the children got chickenpox, so there was no big trip out.

We started the week with a trip to town, and Solomon picked his first dictionary, The Usborne Junior Illustrated English Dictionary. There was a good selection of dictionaries in the local Waterstones, with illustrated versions from Collins, Oxford and Usborne, each of which had versions for different age ranges. The Junior Illustrated version is aimed at ages seven to eleven, defines over 6,000 words, has 650 illustrations, and a selection of spelling tips and word origins scattered throughout. It's a nice accessible dictionary, and after watching What is a dictionary? Solomon practised looking up a random selection of different words. We also compared his new dictionary to some of the other dictionaries we have: Oxford Reference Dictionary, OED.com, Oxford Spanish Minidictionary, and a Dictionary of Trade Name Origins. 

We watched a video on where new words come from:

And after watching the video we got Solomon to create three new words, based on the three ways identified in the video. Solomon's words: 
  1. Dance-prance
    To describe when his sister is putting on one of her shows.
  2. Potnot
    To describe when his brother sits on the potty and doesn’t wee or poo.
  3. Krankgan
    To describe when you don’t want to play Minecraft when you’re feeling a bit poorly (derived from the German word Krank, meaning ill).
Similarly, we created a set of adjective and noun cards that could be put together to make new compound words, and discussed what the new words might means.
Cards for new compound words. 
We're not sure when we will get to Samuel Johnson's house, but as Solomon's dad is a bit of a Johnsonian, we undoubtedly will eventually and will update the blog post appropriately. 

Next week's project: Biology



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