All of the vocabulary web tools I will be sharing in the next couple of posts support different aspects of vocabulary instruction.
While wordstash.com offers digital flashcards, and practice games and quizzes, Lexipedia.com provides color coded word webs connecting the word to its definition(s), part(s) of speech, synonym(s), antonym(s), and its fuzzynym(s) or word slightly related in meaning. This concept of Fuzzynym can be difficult for students to understand. However, fuzzynyms, (I guess a word coined by Lexipedia) are an important lexical component of vocabulary building so students learn the connotation or nuance words carry. When I teach vocabulary, I not only teach the basics, but I also teach the positive, negative or neutral effect of words. Students benefit from learning these so called fuzzynyms so they can learn about the importance of semantics (meaning), and how meaning can change drastically for better or worse if a writer or speaker carelessly chooses his/her words. Mean what you say, but say what you mean by choosing your words carefully is what I tell my students!
When students learn about the connotation of words by analyzing written and non-written texts, "Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me", takes on an entirely different meaning. Students begin to realize the power words have to suggest, influence, and persuade us, and they become more conscious about their own word choices.