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The College Word of the Week activity came from my own fifth grade teacher, Miss Jackson, who was my inspiration for becoming an elementary teacher. She was always looking for exciting ways to motivate us when we were learning new words. Her lessons and personality made learning a fun, joyful experience.

The college word was a bonus on our weekly spelling test and we earned additional points if we spelled it correctly and knew its meaning. We couldn't believe that our teacher actually thought we were capable of learning words that college students used! Well, we were and we did; and our entire class was energized by this simple weekly exercise.

Loquacious means talkative or excessively chatty. It was the very first college word Miss Jackson taught our class. She would use it, as well as other college words, during her lessons throughout the week. She gave kudos if we found ways to incorporate them into our daily conversations. As we practiced for our spelling test, she made sure to remind us that we should have no problem spelling and defining our regular word list if we knew the college word.

When I became a fifth grade teacher, I used this activity with my students and experienced equal levels of success. It's just as easy for families to do at home with their children, so I would give additional college words for homework as an optional challenge for my "hungry learners." They ate it up (pun intended) and regularly asked for more! I used to wonder why - out of all of the possible college words - Miss Jackson chose loquacious as the very first college word. Well, I learned the answer to that question very early during my first year of teaching!

Compile a list of interesting and challenging words and provide them to your children each week. Sites such as and provide daily suggestions and interesting word games. You can keep a running list and hang it on your refrigerator or decorate a box to hold college word flash cards. Remember to include the spelling and definition of each word. Have a weekly college word spelling bee during dinner every Friday night! You can provide an additional challenge by having your children compile their own college word list to share with the rest of the family. To get you started, here are a few sample college words: parsimonious, jeremiad, amanuensis, histrionic, aesthetic, abhorrence, snuggery, gimcrack, esemplastic, and hoi polloi. Have fun!

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