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Titulka > Modul články > Základní vzdělávání > Dictionary skills – getting started

Dictionary skills – getting started

Praktický příspěvek
inspirace
Autor Radmila Záviská
První praktický článek ze seriálu Dictionary Skills in English Lessons for the 8th and 9th grades. Aktivity popsané v tomto článku jsou určeny k seznámení se se základní terminologií používanou v souvislosti s prací se slovníkem. Účelem aktivit je také procvičení základních dovedností, které mohou žákům práci se slovníkem usnadnit (např. zopakování abecedy).
The first practical article of the series Dictionary Skills in English Lessons for the 8th and 9th grades. A set of activities introducing essential terminology and key features of a dictionary with the aim to practise basic skills that make the use of dictionaries easier (e.g. alphabet skills).

Getting started

The activities in this article introduce the essential terminology and key features of a dictionary and rehearse basic skills that will help pupils to use the dictionaries (especially familiarization with the alphabet).

1. Basic terminology

TIME

15–20 minutes

OBJECTIVE

To introduce the basic layout and terminology of dictionary pages considering the level of the 8th and 9th grade pupils

MATERIALS

A copy of a page from a dictionary that is going to be used in the lessons, it can be both bilingual and monolingual; a copy of a chart (appendix 1), scissors and glue

DESCRIPTION       

  1. Hand out the copies of a dictionary page and the chart.
  2. Read the words from the chart loudly with the pupils.
  3. The pupils cut out the chart, match the English word and the Czech translation and stick the correct words from the chart to the correct place to the dictionary page (they should make a line with the word and place).
  4. Go through the answers.

COMMENTS

This activity is essential for getting started to work with all kinds of dictionaries. I used it at the beginning of the school year and I stuck one of the dictionary page with the definitions on the notice board in the classroom. You can also use the terminology as a warm up of the next lesson, e.g.:

  1. Open the dictionary on page 20 and read the first three headwords.
  2. What are the guide words on this page?
  3. What is the meaning of…?
  4. What is the part of the speech of this word? etc.

NB: This activity is based on [6] p15.

2. Useful phrases

TIME

15–20 minutes

OBJECTIVE

To practise useful sentences when working with dictionaries

MATERIALS

A copy of a worksheet (appendix 2)

DESCRIPTION       

  1. Give out the worksheet to pupils and ask them to put the words in each sentence in the right order.
  2. Go through the answers and give the pupils time to practise the sentences in pairs.

COMMENTS          

This activity helped the pupils to understand my commands better, especially at the very beginning of training dictionary skills.

NB: This activity is based on [6] p20.

3. The alphabet 

TIME

5–10 minutes

OBJECTIVE

To revise basic knowledge of the alphabet

MATERIALS

A dictionary

DESCRIPTION         

The Alphabet Quiz

Ask these questions:

  1. How many letters are there in the English alphabet? (26 letters)
  2. How many vowels and how many consonants are there? (5 vowels, 21 consonants)*
  3. What is the letter before Y? (X)
  4. What is the letter after K? (L)
  5. What are the two most common letters at the beginning of words? Look in your dictionary and see which letters have the most pages. (S, P)
  6. What are the three least common letters at the beginning of words? Look in your dictionary and see which letters have the fewest pages. (X, Y, Z)

* vowelsa, e, i, o, u; consonants – b, c, d, f, g, h, j, k, l, m, n, p, q, r, s, t, v, w, x, y, z (but sometimes Y is used to represent vowels)               

COMMENTS

I used this activity as a warm up exercise before working with a dictionary.

NB: This activity is based on [6] p24.

4. Open the dictionary!

TIME

5–10 minutes

OBJECTIVE

To help students get to the right part of a dictionary quickly

MATERIALS

A dictionary for each pupil

DESCRIPTION         

  1. Put the pupils in pairs and give them dictionaries.
  2. Say a word – e.g. book. The pupils should try to open a dictionary at the page with the given word. Count down 3 – 2 – 1 and then do not allow any page-turning. The pupil who is nearer to the right page will get a point. The winner is a pupil with the highest score.  

COMMENTS

This activity helped the pupils to find the needed page quickly. It worked quite well in pairs – they dictated words each other. You can set the rules for giving points, e.g.:

  • the pupil finds the page with the correct word – 10 points
  • the pupil finds the page with the correct letter – 5 points
  • the pupil finds the page with the letter just before or after the chosen letter – 1 point

NB: This activity is based on [6] p21.

5. What is the first?

TIME

10–15 minutes

OBJECTIVE

To raise awareness of the alphabet and the layout of a dictionary

MATERIALS

A dictionary, a copy of a worksheet (appendix 3)

DESCRIPTION       

  1. Give out the worksheet and ask pupils to go through it without the dictionary.
  2. Tell the pupils to check their answers in the dictionary.

COMMENTS          

While doing this activity I discussed various problems, e.g. that in the alphabetical order of entries in the dictionary spaces, hyphens etc. do not count. In the same way, abbreviations and entries beginning with capital letters are treated exactly like ordinary words. The phrasal verbs tend to come before compound entries. To make this activity more difficult, you can ask the pupils to order all the words in the line (not only to choose the first one).

NB: This activity is based on [6] p25.

6. The alphabet race 

TIME

10–15 minutes

OBJECTIVE

To improve knowledge of the alphabet and alphabetical order

MATERIALS

A copy of a worksheet (appendix 4)

DESCRIPTION         

  1. Give out the worksheet and ask the pupils to cut it up.
  2. The pupils try to organize all the words in alphabetical order as quickly as possible.
  3. Check it with the whole class.

COMMENTS

To practise the alphabet in this was I usually make a list of recent vocabulary or vocabulary I want to introduce. To save time I write the words on the board and pupils just copy them in the correct order.

NB: This activity is based on [6] p26.

7. Guide words

TIME

10–15 minutes

OBJECTIVE

To practise looking up in a dictionary according to the guide words

MATERIALS

A copy of a worksheet (appendix 5)

DESCRIPTION         

  1. Give out the worksheet and ask the pupils to put the words in the box between the appropriate guide words.
  2. Check it with the whole class.

COMMENTS

This activity helps the pupils to realize the function of guide words in the dictionary and consequently the pupils can look up the words more effectively. 

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