23rd September 2005 at 01:00
KS1. Distribute small jotters round the class and encourage pupils to make their own dictionaries, adding a new word every day.

KS2. Ask pupils to think of current slang and dialect expressions and to assemble a dictionary of them, giving clear, standard English definitions.

KS3. Read Chapter IV, Humpty Dumpty, of Alice Through the Looking Glass, from "I don't know what you mean by 'glory'" to "Who's been repeating all that hard stuff to you?". Discuss Humpty's attitude to words, and "portmanteau" words.

KS4. Ask two or three students to make up plausible definitions for an obscure word in the dictionary. Read them out, together with the actual definition, and see who can identify the true meaning.

KS5. Read Romeo and Juliet, Act II scene ii, lines 33-51. How important are people's names and words for things and ideas?

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