Word of the Week
The purpose of H-F's Word of the Week program is to emphasize to our students the power of words while encouraging them to develop more sophisticated vocabularies. As Kelly Gallagher (2004) points out in Deeper Reading, expanding one's vocabulary actually expands one's intellect. Contrary to the traditional belief that intelligence is innately fixed, educational psychologists now understand that intelligence is quite fluid. In fact, we can continually expand our intellects and aptitudes as we learn more and more words because our brains have the ability to rewire and adapt to new information. Robert Marzano (2004) explains in Building Background Knowledge for Academic Achievement that "teaching vocabulary is synonymous with teaching background knowledge. The packets of information that constitute our background knowledge all have labels [words] associated with them" (p. 35). Thus, making connections between familiar and unfamiliar terms actually makes us smarter! We encourage teachers to display the Word of the Week in classrooms, to refer to it when appropriate, to use it and, most importantly, to encourage students to use the Word of the Week in their own speaking and writing.