WordS on Wednesday
The limits of my language are the limits of my mind - Ludwig Wittgenstein
Never mind lock down: be a word detective and see how many words you can lock up!
When you read or listen to someone reading aloud, or in a conversation, take a second to notice new words.
Note it! Write it down or say it out loud and if you decide you do want to know what it means, do the following:
Think about what you do understand and know from the other words, the sentence or phrase - give it your best deduction (a deduction is an intelligent guess, one based on the evidence you have - the police are great at deducing, it's how they catch criminals!).
Ask someone else what it means or use a dictionary (if you haven't one at home, here's a link to an online dictionary)
Think about how close you were. It's remarkable how the rest of a phrase or sentence can help you be a super sleuth with words.
Try to find three times in the same day where you use the word in your writing or talking to someone else - this is the magic bit for learning the word and remembering it.
the lost words - a spell book
Robert Macfarlane's poems and Jackie Morris' illustrations are conjouring back to life words that have become lost to us. Every Wednesday of lockdown Ms S is posting one up as a morning riddle. She wonders who can work out what the word is, without the word or illustrations. Is it a plant or an animal? What species might it be? What words and phrases give you clues? In the afternoon all will be revealed.
Wednesday 23rd September 2020
This word has some good clues as to what this might be. What words give you a clue? Are there some good words you don't know - remember to think about what they might mean before looking them up?
Wednesday 16th September 2020
This week's word has fewer works you won't know; it is more about links between words. The mystery word comes right at the end. I wonder if you can think what it might be?
Check back later today for the big reveal!
Wednesday 9th September 2020
Lots of cracking words in this poem! It was chosen though because Ms S has enjoyed seeing some children in school interacting with these and if that's you and you love these trees I think you could work out the mystery of what the poem's about!
I did promise you another word though this week, one that can give you a much happier and sunnier outlook on life and that word is
Sanguine is another word for being optimistic, looking on the bright side and being quietly hopeful while also accepting. This COVID business has made lots of things different in school, some good but some we will all be pleased to be rid of once it's safe. If we can accept this and be sanguine about the changes and hopeful for the future we will be much happier in the present too.
Now. This week's nature mystery. Do you know what it is? Can you find out what some of the other words in this poem mean. There are some corkers!
Wednesday 15th July 2020
What on Earth is Tormentil? There are some wonderful nouns in this poem, how many names can you find for different plants? When you find a noun it's easy enough to look them up and learn more. The Wildflower Trusts search page is a good place to start. Perhaps you will see some of the plants in this poem on your walks over the summer. Walks are more fun when you take a bit of knowledge with you about a place and its wildlife; you can astound your companions with your wisdom!
Wednesday 8th July 2020
Ms S has seen this creature on the River Weaver, but in 14 years of living by the river she has only seen it once. It was a very special, very memorable walk to school that day!
Kingfishers are so fast and tiny they are very hard to spot. There is lots of language in the poem that allude to speed - how many speedy words can you find? You might see them darting along the river bank and across the river but often what you see is a flash of their iridescent colour. 'Iridescent' means sparkling, shining colour - how many words can you see that allude to the kingfisher's bright plumage (feathers)? We know there are kingfishers living along the Weaver and hope some of you get to see one in the wild - it will be an experience you'll never forget!
Wednesday 1st July 2020
There is a lot of alliteration in this poem which may give a clue to the title. What letter is alliterated by the poet? Can you guess what the mystery word is?
Ferns are ancient plants, Cretaceous ferns evolved many millions of years ago, well before any flowering plants were found on Earth. Imagine huge dinosaurs galumphing through fern forests, chewing on their leaves. Think of those dinosaurs and the ancient ferns that fed them when you next see one, perhaps growing by a wall or down in Poors Wood.
Wednesday 24th June 2020
Now we'd be surprised and interested if you'd ever encountered this creature in the wild. There are lots of words that have similar meanings (synonyms) to fire, heat and burning. How many can you find? What can it be? The name is often used as a insult for someone who is sneaky or cunning; they feature in Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. What are they?
It's a weasel! A wonderful if much maligned creature. And if anyone says 'Don't give me your weasel words' you will now know this is not a compliment!
Wednesday 17th June 2020
You will have walked by these a thousand times, even though some of you may not have noticed them. They even featured in an assembly one sunny day last year when we all went outside for a commune with nature. Do you remember it?
We have five senses. Do you know what they are? This poem appeals especially to one of them and that might give you a clue about this species, ubiquitous (a fine word for all over the place) in our school grounds.
The sound of the willow breathes through this poem. When you're in the grounds, have a listen in the willow garden. Can you hear the trees whispering to you?
Wednesday 10th June 2020
Now this is an interesting species. Endangered in the UK, Cheshire is one of the few places where they are more plentiful. When school was built back in 2004, we had to have a survey done to see if any were living on the site. There weren't. And just for once this was a relief: if it had been living in our school grounds they'd have had to be protected and it would have delayed the building of our school and added many thousands of pounds to the building costs as measures were taken to protect them. What could they be? And what on earth does hirsute mean? Find out and then you can deduct what unhirsute means!
Great Crested Newts are terribly endangered but less so in Cheshire. I hope you all get to see one in the wild!
Wednesday 3rd June 2020
Now you will, I am sure, all have seen these but you may not have Noticed them. If you have a garden and your parents or carers are keen gardeners they might be trying to keep these at bay. I admit I have not welcomed them into my garden. However, reading this poem I am rethinking and maybe there will be a corner of Casa Stewart for these fellows from now on.
Plant? Animal? What do you think and why do your think it? Can anyone have a go at what species it might be?
You can find brambles round the school grounds; they are just full of pollinating insects.
Wednesday 20th May 2020
I heard about a mahoosive argument between a couple of you today. As well as loving time together there will be more argy bargy and staying friends with family can be hard when we're cooped up together. So what's this fella? The four words beginning with I are similar in meaning but how are they different? You may need the dictionary to find that one out. Using four synonyms really builds a vivid picture of the arguing and fighting.
What are they? One thing I can tell you is you'll all have seen them, even if have never noticed them before, 100% of you will have seen them! All will be revealed this afternoon.
Magpies are not native to the UK, the first were a gift to Queen Victoria. They are very clever and without any natural predators have thrived here.
Wednesday 13th May 2020
Different to last week, you'll have definitely seen this one, even if you don't know it's name yet. Animal? Plant? Why do you think that. Some of you will get this one quite quickly I expect so do look out for it on your daily walk. How many times can you spot it?
Wednesday 6th May 2020
I know this chap has been very visible (easy to spot) on the river Weaver as I have seen him many times on my daily walk. There are some words which give real clues as to the type of plant or animal it is. Can you list all the words that give you a clue? Some, like 'aviator' give a clue and you may need to be a word detective to work out how the word will help you crack the riddle.
Some words are similar - still and sill - you have to be a super detective to notice all the letters as these two words mean something quite different. Can you find out and explain the words to someone? Can you find what they both mean and explain why one is an adverb and the other a noun?
There are a couple of metaphors too - can you spot them? How do they paint a more vivid picture of the subject of this week's Lost Word?
Late afternoon of 6th May, just after children in school had been pondering what this week's word might be and were out playing who should fly past but Mr Heron. He circled the school a couple of times before heading back to the river. Ms S has seen Mr Heron many times down on the riverbank but never by school. What a coincidence! Nature really is the gift that keeps on giving.
Wednesday 29th April 2020
This is a living thing you probably have never seen in the wild even though they have been seen up by Vale Royal locks and live in and around the River Weaver. The poem gives some clues to why they are so very hard to spot. Some words you may not know yet are worth investigating - 'holt' may give you a clue for working out what it might be.
There's a metaphor too - the silver miner. Do you know what a 'miner' does? What is 'ore'? Do you know what 'trout' means? Find out; it will help you see how in the third, longer verse, a vivid, bright picture of this week's lost word. Use a dictionary (there's an online one on this page).
Did you work it out before all was revealed?
Wednesday 22nd April 2020
Here's a mysterious one. Animal? Plant? Fungus? This poem uses metaphor to give a really strong, mysterious feel.
A metaphor is a bit like a simile, both compare something with something similar to give us a more vibrant or bright picture. A simile compares by saying something which says something is like (or similar); for example 'the cat's eyes shine like the moon at night.' A metaphor compares by saying something is something else; for example, 'A library is a ship of knowledge.' What's the metaphor in this poem?
Are there any words you don't know? Do you know what hue means? I wonder if anyone can guess about the meaning of the word hue from the rest of the poem. How close can you get before looking in the dictionary.
The word is one you might know as right now this species can be found in special places around Britain and we are lucky as one special place is right on our doorstep. Can you work out what it is?
The bluebells are out all around Northwich. Over the river in Vale Royal Woods and the Marshall's Arm Nature Reserve, in Poors Wood our side of the river and in Marbury Park they have emerged, bathing the landscape in an azure haze. Bluebells like to grow in woodland so come out early, when the world is warming up and trees just coming into leaf. They don't last long though: once the trees are fully in leaf the woodland floor is too dark and they die back until next year. Take your opportunity to see the bluebells in our Northwich Woodlands in the beautiful sunshine before its too late!
Wednesday 15th April 2020
Here's an interesting one. The name of the species doesn't come up at all in the poem.
When you have worked out what type of plant or animal and thought why, you might want to think what in the poem tells you about the particular species. Which parts of the poem tell us about the species and which bits are fanciful, imagined but couldn't really happen?
To lark about also means to have fun and mess about. I think this is because of these little birds' exuberance and sheer energy.
Wednesday 8th April 2020
Here's a good word - is it an animal or a plant?
Why do you think that? What words give you clues as to this species? If you think you have worked out the species, can can guess this particular one?
When Ms S was a nipper she and her brothers used to visit their auntie Madeline and uncle Basil in Bristol. They had a massive garden high on a cliff, looking over the river Severn. Even on hot summer days, people had to wear wellies to go down to the wilder places at the bottom of the garden. Because these things were there! It's a word she grew up with but not so many children know it today. She loves the 'left behind ghost' phrase.
Here it is. Did you guess it? James from Extratime gave the best clue with a joke - Which snake is really good at Maths? LoL! Did you know that the adder is the only native British snake that's poisonous? They're pretty rare these days so if you get to see one in your lifetime... lucky you!
Wednesday 1st April 2020
Did you work out this one is an animal, not a plant? How?
There are also some really cracking words up for capture - swagger, agile, thrice. There are also some really nifty words you can use instead of 'said' - how many can you find in the poem? Remember to do the magic and use them three times. Words are a bit like muscles - use 'em or lose 'em!
It may be April Fool's Day but these are no fools; they're a member of the Covid family, the smartest of all birds. Ms S wondered what 'hexes' means. She thought it might be a synonym (similar meaning) for 'said'. Probably, from the tone of this poem, not saying something in a nice way; it sounds threatening. When she looked it up she found it is like an evil spell or curse.
Wednesday 25th March 2020
Did anyone work it out? Did you know it was a plant? How? I wonder if you found different clues.
Did you think of any new names. Ms S thought President's Hairstyle could be a good name for it! Poor plant!