Words of the Week


#30 oppression (noun) prolonged cruel or unjust treatment or control. Sentence: In our history, slavery is an example of oppression; the way slaves were treated and “owned” by whites was inhumane.

#29. civil rights: (noun) the rights of citizens to political and social freedom and equality.  Sentence: African Americans in the 1950’s and 60’s were fighting for their basic civil rights; they didn’t believe blacks and whites should have separate public bathrooms, schools, etc.

#28. commodity (noun) a raw material or primary agricultural product that can be bought and sold, such as copper or coffee. Sentence: On Shark Tank, the sharks talk a lot about certain products being a commodity or a common good.

#27. denotation (noun): the literal or primary meaning of a word: the “dictionary definition” of a word. Sentence: Authors make it a common practice to deviate from the dictionary meanings of words or their “denotation” to create fresher ideas and images, or their “connotation.”

#26. pitch (noun): make a bid to obtain a contract or other business. Sentence: On the tv show Shark Tank, entrepreneurs come in and make a pitch to the sharks to try and get them to invest in their product.

#25. eccentric: (adj): (of a person or their behavior) unconventional and slightly strange. Sentence: Hermanjilio is a brilliant archaeologist but somewhat eccentric when he wears ancient Maya jaguar skins.

#24. precedence: (noun) something being more important than or taking priority over something else; priority in rank, order or importance. Sentence: Make sure you give your reading and schoolwork precedence over video games and texting!

#23. cenote (noun): a deep natural well or sinkhole, formed by the collapse of surface limestone that exposes groundwater underneath, and sometimes used by the ancient Mayans for sacrificial offerings. Sentence: Max and Lola found a cenote in the underground rooms as they were trying to run away from DeLanda.

#22. refute (verb):  To prove a statement or theory to be wrong or false; disprove.   Sentence: During the debate, the man was able to refute the argument that the dog park would be a possible noise hindrance by citing the quiet hours it would have.

#21. bias (noun): A judgment based on a personal point of view- favoring one side, position or belief. Sentence: We should try to avoid bias in our writing and always be careful not to offend anyone.


#20. redundant: (adjective) characterized by unnecessary repetition in expressing ideas. Sentence: After reading numerous 6th graders’ persuasive essays, the teacher noticed that many contained redundant ideas; they kept repeating the same points.

#19. balderdash (noun): senseless, stupid, or exaggerated talk or writing; nonsense. Sentence: When we realized the table next to us was eavesdropping on our conversation, we decided to launch into balderdash.

#18. mood: (noun) The general atmosphere created by the author's words and descriptions. It is the feeling or vibe the reader gets from reading those words. Sentence: Edger Allen Poe creates an ominous mood in his short story “The Raven” by using eerie and dark descriptions.

#17. scapegoat: (noun) one that bears the blame for others. Sentence: According to the article "The Girl Who Lived Forever," Lewis states that Hitler provided a scapegoat for the problems going wrong in Germany- the Jews; he basically blamed everything on them.

#16. tolerance: (noun) the ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular, the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with. Sentence: Having a culture of tolerance and equality for all was Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy.

#15. kerfuffle: (noun) a commotion or fuss, especially one caused by conflicting views.  Sentence: There was quite a kerfuffle caused at the soccer game when some parents didn’t agree with the ref’s call.

#14. activist: (noun) a person who campaigns to bring about political or social change. Sentence: Teen activists, like Alex Lin, usually fight for a cause that they feel passionate about, want to raise awareness about, and want to change. 

#13. tenacious: (adjective) persistent in maintaining or seeking something valued or desired. Sentence: The 6th grader was so tenacious; despite being sick and missing three days of school, she worked hard over the weekend to make up her newspaper project.

#12. apathy (noun): lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern. Sentence: The students were acting very apathetic because they were putting their heads down on the desks and not paying attention to the teacher.

#11. credible source- (noun) research materials from individuals or organizations that are considered experts on the topic whose information is reliable. Sentence: To be sure you have a credible source, try to find the same information in more than one place (this is also called cross-referencing!)

#1 ambiguous-  (adjective) open to or having several possible meanings or interpretations. Sentence: The student wrote a sentence for his vocabulary word, but it was so ambiguous the teacher couldn’t tell if he actually knew what the word meant.

#2 figurative language- (noun) using a word or phrase that does not have its normal everyday, literal meaning. Sentence: Writers can use figurative language like similes, metaphors, and personification to make their writing more interesting or more dramatic than literal language.

#3 sensory details- (noun) includes sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste. Writers use the five senses to bring readers into the world they are creating. Copy one or more of the example sentences below:
    sight--her golden brown hair hangs gently down her back like a cascading waterfall
    sound--the train clanks and screeches metallically along the tracks
    smell--when I walked in, the aroma of warm chocolate, caramel, and other sugary sweetness permeated the air in the kitchen
    touch--his skin is so scaly and rough, it must feel like sandpaper

#4. benevolent (adjective) Characterized by or expressing goodwill or kindly feelings. Sentence: Our sixth-grade students are benevolent students; they watch out for each other, clean the hallways, and are nice to teachers.

#5 growth mindset (noun): In a growth mindset, people believe their abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work. Sentence: The teachers wanted the students to have a growth mindset- to understand that they could all be successful by working hard and believing in themselves.

#6. attribute (noun)- characteristics of a concept which must be present for the concept to exist. Sentence: A critical attribute of a personal narrative is that the author reflects on what s/he learned at the end.

#7.displace- (verb) to force someone to leave their home typically because of war, natural disaster or persecution. Sentence: We have learned that thousands of people were displaced because of the Sudanese Civil war.

#8. adversity (noun)- adverse or unfavorable fortune, fate, or misfortune; challenges or something that stands in a person’s way. Sentence: The South Sudanese people have had to fight through adversity because of the lack of education and water.

#9. refuge (noun): a condition of being safe or sheltered from pursuit, danger, or trouble. Sentence: When hiding from the rebels, the Sudanese refugees were forced to take refuge in the African bush, where they tried to hide for their lives.

#10. vague pronouns (noun)- Every pronoun (it, they, he, she, this…) should refer back to a specific noun (known as the antecedent). If it doesn’t, it is a vague pronoun. Definition: a pronoun with an unclear antecedent. Sentence: He went to talk to his teacher so he could get some help. (Who is “he”?)