Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Vocabulary Reflection

Throughout the year I've noticed that many of my vocabulary words either came from school articles pertaining to teaching or from "fun" reading (books that I read for pleasure). This says a lot about me because it shows that I am an avid reader and that I go through a lot of books, even when I'm busy with school I always try to find time to read for pleasure. Because I do make an effort to do this, many of these words come from books that are not scholarly (the majority being Young Adult novels -- A.S. King, John Green). These are the types of texts that I engage with frequently and on a day-to-day basis.

As the year progressed I found myself constantly thinking that I wanted to upload a new word to my blog whenever I came across an unfamiliar one. This happened even when I had already uploaded 2-3 words for the week. This blog has definitely made me more cognizant of new vocabulary and has inspired me to actually take the time and effort to look up an unknown word. I believe that even if I may not be keeping a blog anymore, I have now internalized the practice of looking up and being curious about an unknown or interesting word.

This blog has taught me how to keep my mind open and be more aware of unfamiliar words that I encounter. Whereas before I wasn't consciously thinking about this, now that I've been doing it for a few weeks it seems natural to always be on the look-out for unfamiliar vocabulary. I'm much more cognizant of the words that I come across, and how often I don't know the definition for some! Overall I think this is going to help me improve my vocabulary over time because it will encourage me to actively make a point of learning new words.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

9:2 - Obfuscate

When & Where: I found the word obfuscate while reading the same article, and even on the same page (pg 224) as the word tenet. The sentence was, "The dictionary often obfuscates understanding."

Level of Familiarity: I've never seen or heard this word before. It doesn't even look like a real word! I have no idea how to pronounce it either. Based on this sentence, my best guess is that it means 'confuses.' There aren't a lot of context clues here to help me out though.

What it Means: "render obscure, unclear, or unintelligable." (www.dictionary.com)

Reflective Commentary: I find it interesting that this article seems to obfuscate understanding because of all the difficult vocabulary the author is using! I can't see myself using this word because I'm still not really sure how to pronounce it. However, if I come across it again while reading I know I'll remember what it means.

9:1 - Tenet

When & Where: I was reading Michelle's article for Monday's class ("Content Area Readers: Helping Middle-Level Students Become Word Aware (and Enjoy It!)") when I came across the word tenet. The sentence was: "In reviewing the literature, a number of important tenets repeatedly bubbled up."

Level of Familiarity: I've never heard this word before. Based on the context, I would guess that it means points or ideas.

What it Means: "a principle or belief, esp. one of the main principles of a religion or philosophy." (www.dictionary.com)

Reflective Commentary: I could see myself using this word in class if I was teaching and trying to expand my students' vocabulary. Rather than saying principles or beliefs, this would be a nice way to expose them to different words.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

8:2 - Perseverate

When & Where: I was in LTED 626 listening to the same presentation when the presenter used the word perseverate. She said, "He will perseverate on an issue that is bothering him and refuse to speak."

Level of Familiarity: I've heard the word used before. I believe it was another one of my SAT vocabulary words. I think I remember it having to do with going back and forth between an issue, which would make sense in the context of the sentence.

What it Means: "Repeat or prolong an action, thought, or utterance after the stimulus that prompted it has ceased" (www.dictionary.com)

Reflective Commentary: My original guess was incorrect but I think this makes more sense in the sentence. I don't know if I will really use this word in the future but I do think it's a good one to know. I could maybe see myself using this word in writing, but I'm not quite comfortable enough to use it in conversation.

8:1 - Garrulous

When & Where: I was in class for LTED 626 and listening to a presentation, when the presenter used the word garrulous to describe her student. She said, "When he's engaged, he's garrulous and lively."

Level of Familiarity: I've heard this word before and I remember it being one of my SAT vocabulary words, but I can't remember what it means. Based on the context, I'd guess that it means energetic or animated.

What it Means: "Excessively talkative, especially on trivial matters" (www.dictionary.com)

Reflective Commentary: I think this is a useful word to know because I have come across it a few times. The definition is easy to remember and it is also a good word to describe characters/characterization in novels. I'm going to try and use this word in the future.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

7:2 - Propagandistic

When & Where: I was reading Content-Area Writing for Monday's class when I came across this word on page 33: "In a history class, students were asked to examine a rather propagandistic 1860 newspaper drawing depicting Native Americans attacking homesteaders."

Level of Familiarity: I know what the word propaganda means, so I'm assuming that this word is another form of it and has the same/similar meaning. Although I've never seen this word before I can make a very accurate guess as to what it means. I wasn't aware that you could use propaganda in a sentence this way.

What it Means: "A person involved in producing or spreading propaganda" (www.dictionary.com)

Reflective Commentary: After reading the definition my initial assumption was correct. This is not a word I think I will ever use; however, I thought it was very interesting because I had never come across it before.

7:1 - Contentious

When & Where: I was eating lunch at work yesterday with some colleagues. One of the other English teachers said, "This other teacher -- who is very contentious -- always got into arguments with me about this one student."

Level of Familiarity: I know that I've heard this word before and it reminds me of the word contemptuous, which I think has a slightly similar meaning. I think it means someone who is full of themselves or stuck-up, but I'm not sure.

What it Means: www.dictionary.com says "(of a person) given to arguing or provoking argument."

Reflective Commentary: I think it's interesting that it can either be describing a person who argues a lot or describing a controversial idea or argument (a point of contention). There are a lot of different ways to use this word and I'm going to try to use it in the future because I've come across it so many times.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

6:3 - Capricious

When & Where: I was reading a different short story titled "The Bet" by Anton Chekhov to possibly use for class when I came across the word capricious. The sentence was, "The banker, who at that time had too many millions to count, spoiled and capricious, was beside himself with rapture."

Level of Familiarity: I've heard this word so many times and I still don't know what it means. It's usually used to describe someone's personality or behavior. Because it's used with the term 'spoiled' I'm going to assume that it's somewhat negative.

What it Means: www.dictionary.com says, "given to sudden and unaccountable changes of mood or behavior."

Reflective Commentary: I definitely want to start using this word because I feel as if I have a good understanding of it and what it means. I also looked the word up on Google and there were a lot of examples of capricious behavior, so there are a lot of contexts I could use it in. I also think it's just a useful word to know. It's a common SAT vocabulary word, so it's also good for students to know.

6:2 - Auspices

When & Where: I was reading the same article, "The Clarks: An American Story of Wealth, Scandal, and Mystery" when I came across the word auspices a few minutes later. The sentence was: "No married couple ever started married life under more brilliant auspices."

Level of Familiarity: I think I've heard this word before. I think it has something to do with style and reputation because the article was discussing how notorious the family was.

What it Means: www.dictionary.com has two definitions:
1. Patronage; support; sponsorship
2. A sign or omen, especially one that is favorable

Reflective Commentary: Based on the context the word is used in I believe the second definition makes more sense. However, it is surprising to me that it usually is referring to a favorable omen because the article was very critical and somewhat negative about the Clark family. Also, the family lived in scandal and bad fortune, so I'm not sure how true that statement is. I can't see myself using this word in the future because I'm still not very comfortable with what it means.

6:1 - Denuded

When & Where: I was at work reading an informational article about an old and notorious American family called, "The Clarks: An American Story of Wealth, Scandal, and Mystery." The article said: "Criticized for the sulfurous smoke and denuded landscape from his mines, he said, 'Those who succeed us can well take care of themselves.'"

Level of Familiarity: I believe I've heard this word before, although I don't know what it means. Based on context clues it seems to be something negative, meaning maybe "ruined or damaged." I know that the prefix de- means to take away, so I think it also has something to do with that.

What it Means: www.dictionary.com says, "to make naked or bare; strip." As in the storm completely denuded the trees.

Reflective Commentary: That was not the definition I was expecting at all. I suppose it makes sense although I don't know what other context I would use it in, other than talking about damage to landscape. I don't know if I will really use this word in conversation, because I'm still not sure on other ways to use it.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

5:2 - Parsimonious

When & Where: I was reading Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King (2012) before bed when I came across the word parsimonious. The author uses this word multiple times throughout the book, but the first time she used it was on p. 10-11: "My parsimonious father doesn't understand that a senior in high school shouldn't have a full-time job...Instead, my parsimonious father launches into a ten-minute lecture about how working for a living is hard and kids today don't get it because they're given allowances they don't earn."

Level of Familiarity: I've seen this word so many times, and I've looked it up before but I can never remember what it means. For some reason whenever I think of this word I immediately get a vivid image of a righteous priest in my mind (I think I may be confusing it with sanctimonious).

What it Means: www.dictionary.com says that parsimonious means, "unwilling to spend money or use resources; stingy or frugal."

Reflective Commentary: I would like to try and use this word because I believe it's a word that can describe a lot of people, or apply to a lot of situations. I now have a better understanding of Vera's father, and why he makes her work so hard in this story.

5:1 - Undergirds

When & Where: I was reading an article for LTED 626 by Doug Buehl, titled "Scaffolding." He was describing his experiences growing up on a farm and the gradual release of responsibility that his parents gave him. He then applied that idea to teaching and said, "Students need plenty of opportunities to see an expert -- the teacher -- at work, as you interact with texts and showcase the thinking that undergirds doing a task well."

Level of Familiarity: I have never seen this word before, and I find it a very odd sounding/looking word. Based on the way it's used in this sentence I would guess that it means "coincides/goes along with" because that would make sense with what he's talking about.

What it Means: www.dictionary.com has two similar meanings:
1. Secure or fasten from the underside, especially by a rope or chain passed underneath.
2. Provide support or a firm basis for.

Reflective Commentary: I definitely think the second definition makes more sense in this situation. I have a better understanding of what the author is talking about. I will probably never use this word in conversation or in writing. I chose it just because I thought it was a strange word and had never come across it.

Friday, September 27, 2013

4:2 - Indelible

When & Where: I came across the word indelible almost immediately after stumbling across guileful. I was reading An Abundance of Katherines by John Green (2006) before bed when the main character, Colin, says "I won a...game show a year ago? That's my indelible mark on human history?" (p.39)

Level of Familiarity: I have seen this word so many times and I have never known what it means! I never stopped to look it up until now, though. I usually just keep on reading.

What it Means: www.dictionary.com says, "Making marks that can never be removed."

Reflective Commentary: I definitely want to try and use this word. I feel as though I've heard it enough times over the years so that I will actually remember what it means and can therefore use it.

4:1 - Guileful

When & Where: I read the word guileful while reading An Abundance of Katherines by John Green (2006). The sentence is: "She had the sort of broad and guileful smile in which you couldn't help but believe -- you just wanted to make her happy so you could keep seeing it" (p. 31).

Level of Familiarity: I have definitely heard this word before, but I'm not quite sure where. I think it has something to do with being exuberant or not shy.

What it Means: www.dictionary.com defines it as "deceitfully or treacherously cunning."

Reflective Commentary: This makes sense because the main character is describing a country girl from Tennessee, who's got a bit of mystique surrounding her. She seems like a plain and simple girl, but it turns out that she is quite mischievous and the other characters find this out immediately after. I can't see myself ever using this word; however, I do think it's important to know because it adds to the description of the character and can be used to describe a lot of characters in literature. If I was teaching a novel to the class I would want to teach them about descriptive/characterization words, and I believe this would be a useful one.

Friday, September 20, 2013

3:2 - Tenement

When & Where: I was sitting in my apartment reading Barack Obama: Son of Promise, Child of Hope by Nikki Grimes (2008) when I came across the word tenement. It's a children's book that I was reading for LTED 626, so I was surprised at the vocabulary. The sentence was: "It was early evening, and a boy named David sat on a tenement floor, glued to the TV" (p. 1).

Level of Familiarity: I have heard this word used before, possibly in a history class or having something to do with being a tenant but I never knew what it meant.

What it Means: www.dictionary.com says a tenement is "a run-down and often overcrowded apartment house, especially in a poor section of a large city."

Reflective Commentary: I liked this word because it gave a lot of detail about what kind of apartment the boy lived in, without having to go too in-depth. I immediately was able to visualize where this little boy lived and what kind of life he had, just based on that one word. I could possibly see myself using this word when I'm talking about different areas in the city, or when I'm talking about a run-down house so that people will have a better understanding of what it is that I'm describing.

3:1 - Chary

When & Where: I found the word chary when I was reading the short story "Marigolds" by Eugenia W. Collier (1969) at work today. The sentence was "But God was chary with miracles in those days, and so we waited -- and waited" (p. 1).

Level of Familiarity: I have never heard this word used before, so I had no idea what it meant. I thought it might have been a typo at first, but I was able to correctly deduce what it meant by looking at the context and the rest of the sentence. I guessed that since the narrator had been talking about how hard times were and that everyone was living in poverty, it probably meant that there weren't too many good things happening at the time.

What it Means: www.dictionary.com had a few definitions for chary. The most appropriate one for this context was "sparingly." The word was also defined at the end of the story and was said to mean "not generous." This makes sense and goes along with what I had initially thought -- that God was not generous in handing out miracles during the narrator's childhood.

Reflective Commentary: I found this word interesting simply because I had never come across it before now, but I don't think it's a word that I will regularly use. I feel as though the word chary is a little out-dated and so not very many people would even know what I was talking about. Also, there are a lot of other words that can be used instead of chary that are more appropriate such as hesitant, reluctant, or sparing.