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April 14

Noah Webster published his American Dictionary of the English Language in 1828.

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Noah Webster published his American Dictionary of the English Language  in 1828.

Grades 2 – 12
Calendar Activity Type Historical Figure & Event





Noah Webster is considered by many to be the "father of the American dictionary." He began his work on the project at the age of 43. It took him more than 25 years to complete the first edition. Today Merriam-Webster offers online, CD, and print versions of its Collegiate® Dictionary, currently in its 11th edition with more than 225,000 definitions!




Celebrate the publication of Webster's Dictionary using a variation of the board game Balderdash. Divide students into groups of five or six, and provide each group with a dictionary and some blank paper cut into strips:

  • One student scans the dictionary to find a word that he or she believes no one has ever heard before, reads it aloud, and spells it. The other students write down either a real or made-up definition of the word.

  • The student with the dictionary writes the real definition and then collects the other definitions. The leader reads all of the definitions and the students in the group then individually choose which of the definitions they believe is real.

  • Two points are awarded for selecting the correct definition and one point to each student whose definition is selected. Points are totalled and the next person in the circle selects a new word.



  • Merriam-Webster Online

    This site is the online version of the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Students can access the site to look up words and definitions. There is also a Word of the Day to help students build their vocabulary.


  • Alphabet Organizer

    This ReadWriteThink interactive allows students to print an alphabet chart or pages for an alphabet book.


  • OneLook Dictionary Search

    At this site, students can search dozens of dictionaries. The resource also provides links to French, German, Italian, and Spanish translation tools.


  • Word Central

    Word Central, published by Merriam-Webster, offers a kid-friendly student dictionary. Students can also build their own dictionary and take the Daily Buzzword vocabulary challenge.



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Grades   6 – 8  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Building Vocabulary: Making Multigenre Glossaries Based on Student Inquiry

Students choose unfamiliar words from their reading and create a multigenre, multimodal glossary of terms.


Grades   4 – 8  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

A-B-C: It's Easy as 1-2-3 to Make Math Alphabet Books

Using the Alphabet Organizer app, students create alphabet books to review math terms.


Grades   6 – 12  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Highlighting Out-of-School Language Expertise with Pop Culture Dictionaries

Students compose dictionary entries for words and phrases from pop culture texts (e.g., television shows, movies, lyrics, YouTube videos), connecting their definitions to their personal use of the terms.


Grades   K – 2  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Action ABC's: Learning Vocabulary With Verbs

Creating an illustrated alphabet book of action words, from attack to zap, reinforces the definition of verbs as it stretches and expands students' vocabulary.


Grades   3 – 5  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Charlotte is Wise, Patient, and Caring: Adjectives and Character Traits

Students find examples of adjectives in a shared reading. Then students "become" major characters in a book and describe themselves and other characters, using powerful adjectives.


Grades   6 – 8  |  Lesson Plan  |  Recurring Lesson

Using a Word Journal to Create a Personal Dictionary

Students will be the definition of vocabulary experts as they use the skills they learn in this lesson to track, define, and ultimately master unfamiliar words.


Grades   6 – 8  |  Lesson Plan  |  Recurring Lesson

Shared Spelling Strategies

Students increase their spelling accuracy and retention, while preserving fluency, by using sound, sight recall, and analyzing strategies instead of memorizing words, as they deal with spelling during drafting.


Grades   9 – 12  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Brave New Words: Novice Lexicography and the Oxford English Dictionary

Students become novice lexicographers as they explore recent new entries to the dictionary, learn the process of writing entries for the Oxford English Dictionary, and write a new entry themselves.