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Evolving Language with Jen Malone

Today I’m excited to have Jen Malone, author of numerous books for young readers and teens, here with a fun writing activity inspired by her latest release, The Art of the Swap. This activity looks at how language evolves and what it means to students. After all, about 4,000 new words are added to the English dictionary yearly!

Evolution of Language Writing Activity

Discuss as a class how language and communication has changed over time. Then have students examine ways they communicate with others using a shorthand that comes from sharing the same moment in time.

  1. Group students and have them research the new words added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary last year.
  2. Have students denote whether their examples derived from a pop culture reference or were connected to a new technology or social movement.
  3. Students can also make predictions about what words they might expect to see added next year.
  4. Allow students to share their findings through a multimedia presentation that they can share with the class. Be sure they pair the words with the source material linked to its origin.

Check out this teacher guide for The Art of Swap for more great ideas! If you’re looking for some fun facts about the English language, check out this site. Be sure to follow Jen Malone on Twitter here and her coauthor, Kristine Carlson Asselin here.

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