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Use TheSaurus for whole-class instruction as you examine a sample passage that might need work, and ask the class to find synonyms to spice up a piece of writing or make it more precise. In vocabulary instruction, ask students to use the app to identify synonyms of vocabulary words or use the app to define them. Synonyms may also help students grasp meanings of vocabulary words. When teaching the importance of word choice and diction, have students use TheSaurus so they can learn about crafting tone; students can also see the definitions of words to make sure the word they've chosen is appropriate for the tone of their piece.Continue reading Show less
TheSaurus is an interactive thesaurus and dictionary that allows users to search for synonyms and definitions. First, type in a word to search; related words are displayed in trees. When a student taps on a word, a definition pops up on-screen. The word tree only displays a small number of nodes at once, and if a word is highlighted in magenta, you can click on it to see further synonyms. Users can also shake the device to display a random word.
TheSaurus can help students write with intention and purpose as they search for exactly the right word to say what they mean. The word trees are an especially nice way to show students how words and their synonyms connect, and the app is useful overall as an illustration of the similarities among words.
However, this app is pretty simplistic. It gets the job done if you're searching for a stronger, more high-impact word, but users can only see synonyms and their definitions -- there's no added value beyond those simple features. It would be helpful if the words were used in sentences or if there were richer context offered for these words and for when they're best used. Additionally, audio features would be a big help, as students might encounter new words and wonder how they're pronounced. While this is a neat way to explore how words are related, this app misses the chance to show how similar words are different -- a critical detail that can truly add nuance and insight to strong writing. Other tools such as Wordflex Touch Dictionary do a far better job of making those connections in an appealing, approachable format; look elsewhere for more depth and engagement potential.
Key Standards Supported
Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words or phrases based on grade 8 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.
Consult general and specialized reference materials (e.g., dictionaries, glossaries, thesauruses), both print and digital, to find the pronunciation of a word or determine or clarify its precise meaning or its part of speech.
Verify the preliminary determination of the meaning of a word or phrase (e.g., by checking the inferred meaning in context or in a dictionary).
Use the relationship between particular words to better understand each of the words.
Distinguish among the connotations (associations) of words with similar denotations (definitions) (e.g., bullheaded, willful, firm, persistent, resolute).
Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening.
Consult general and specialized reference materials (e.g., dictionaries, glossaries, thesauruses), both print and digital, to find the pronunciation of a word or determine or clarify its precise meaning, its part of speech, or its etymology.
Acquire and use accurately general academic and domain-specific words and phrases, sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression.
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