Should we still teach students dictionary skills?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Emmaline, Aug 3, 2010.

  1. Emmaline

    Emmaline New Member

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    I'd like to get some opinions about teaching dictionary skills. Does anyone still teach them? I'd appreciate feedback about why you teach them or why you don't.
     
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  3. hawkteacher

    hawkteacher Comrade

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    I still think it's important to know how to navigate a dictionary. Also, knowing how to navigate a dictionary helps with knowing how to find information in other resource books. Do I "teach" these skills? Not really. I think by sixth they've already learned (through our librarian). If I were to see a student struggling, then I would help them.
     
  4. Elocin

    Elocin Comrade

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    While I was student teaching in first grade, we taught dictionary skills. Unfortunately it was only once a unit so we touched on it about every 6 weeks. Not very effective.
     
  5. yarnwoman

    yarnwoman Cohort

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    I think they should be taught. I taught 8th grade for the past two years and will teach 6th this year. I can not tell you how many student's did not know how to look a word up in the dictionary. It was sad. My first year in 8th I actually did do a mini unit on dictionary skills.
     
  6. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    We definitely teach them! In fact, our principal is ordering us new dictionaries this year. In theory we are all supposed to have the same dictionaries because of the state test. We have three 4th grade classrooms and all 3 of us have different dictionaries and none have a class set of any one of them. I had to get the order form ready and stressed over the $1098 total! :eek:
     
  7. GD2BQN

    GD2BQN Comrade

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    Yes! They still need dictionary skills. We do several activities throughout the year that require the use of a dictionary. They can do this easier if they know how to actually use it!! If they are looking to spell a word correctly they also need to know how to use a dictionary. Unfortunately, with the use of computers you can just "search" for the correct spelling & meaning of a word.;)
     
  8. jday129

    jday129 Comrade

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    I'm going to disagree. Dictionaries are cumbersome and not worth the effort in today's technology based society. How many adults do you know that use a paper dictionary.
    Students should understand how to read a definition and understand that most words have multiple meanings.
     
  9. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Emma- are you planning on teaching dictionary skills? Are you running into some opposition as to the teaching of this content? Or is this a question from a class you are taking?
     
  10. myangel52

    myangel52 Comrade

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    I would love it if students knew how to correctly use a dictionary. So many kids will ask me what a word means, and I tell them "look it up!" and point to the dictionaries. More often than not, I have to help them find it. (6th and 7th graders)
     
  11. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    We learn and practice dictionary skills in 3rd grade. My kids love having "Dictionary Races" if we have a few minutes--I hand out the dictionaries, write a word on the board, and the kids race to find the word and read the definition.
     
  12. hernandoreading

    hernandoreading Comrade

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    I do go over dictionary skills with my students, and even have "Dictionary races" to motivate them to practice these skills. The kids love it, and I can gauge who needs a little additional assistance or review.

    As for whether dictionary skills are still needed....the basic skills used in a dictionary (knowing how to find what you are looking for) are also used in other items, such as indexes, foreign language guides, phone books, etc.
     
  13. jenglish97

    jenglish97 Devotee

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    I teach 3rd grade. I spend a lot of time working on dictionary skills. In fact, I have it at one of my language arts center as an option to practice the skills.

    hernandoreading ~ I love the idea of "Dictionary Races" and will incorporate it into my lessons! Thanks! :)
     
  14. carlea

    carlea Comrade

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    I still teach dictionary skills, too. I also teach thesaurus skills and always have the students look up any word they're replacing in their writing so they know exactly what the word means. I think it's fine if they use the computer's dictionary, but since many of my 6th graders last year couldn't alphabetize, I make them use the dictionary in class.
     
  15. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    I will always remember my 3rd grade teacher's response when we asked him how to spell words (let's say "especially"): "E-S-P-Dictionary". :)
     
  16. Bumble

    Bumble Groupie

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    I barely taught dictionary skills last year. We had 5 small dictionaries, so it was really hard to teach 24 students how to use a dictionary. Hopefully our new P will order us dictionaries, but I doubt it. Instead, we spend our money on prepackaged curricula.
     
  17. KateL

    KateL Habitué

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    I never use dictionaries in class or in my real life. That's what Dictionary.com is for! Students should still know how to read a dictionary entry, though, since the online ones are formatted much the same as the printed ones. (ie, know the abbreviations for part of speech, know how to select the appropriate definition from a list of 5 or so, etc.) They don't really need to know how to use index words anymore. And they don't really need any of this for 7th grade science, but they should know it by the end of high school.

    I do wish my 7th graders knew how to use a glossary and an index and the difference between them when they enter my class.
     
  18. FarFromHome

    FarFromHome Connoisseur

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    I do dictionary races in third grade also! We have small paperback dictionaries that I let them keep in their desk. If we have 5-10 spare minutes, I sometimes do this. I usually have them work in their groups. I give them a whiteboard and they pick one person to write. I ask lots of different questions-definitions, page numbers, pronounciation, how many definitions there are, parts of speech, guide words. They look it up and the first group to hold up the correct answer earns a point. My kids love it.
     
  19. UVAgrl928

    UVAgrl928 Habitué

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    I teach it because it's a skill that our kids will need to know on state testing in 3rd, but I think it's kind of pointless. Other than demonstrations for my class, I never pick up a dictionary. Everything I do is electronic.
     
  20. Starista

    Starista Cohort

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    Yup. I have a dictionary hunt as part of literacy centers... they love finding the guide words and the sentences they create with their new word are often hilarious!!!!!!
     
  21. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    In a perfect world, no they wouldn't be taught. But, in my world where our kids don't have computer access in classrooms they need it. At least some basic index/glossary skills would be nice...

    <<Unfortunately, with the use of computers you can just "search" for the correct spelling & meaning of a word.>>

    Why is that unfortunate? That's like saying "Unfortunately, we can now use the printing press to make books."
     
  22. Ross

    Ross Comrade

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    When the big electromagnetic pulse from space hits us, we are in big trouble.

    People will be helplessly lost without their GPS, advancements in math in science will halt because calculators will not work, writing will cease because Spellcheck is not available, planes will crash because the pilots cannot fly without the computer systems.

    :haha:
     
  23. Chrissteeena

    Chrissteeena Companion

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    In my honest opinion, I don't believe that teaching dictionary skills is completely worth it now. I haven't used a paper dictionary since I was in MS. If I am reading something and it's on my computer, I'll either go to dictonary.com or since I have a MAC, highlight the world and hit ctrl+d or whatever it is and it pops up the definition right there (along with thesaurus words). If I'm on the go, or when I was in a class for college… I took out my phone and checked it on there.
     

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