Always be prepared to be amazed when you visit Ann Whiting's Grade 7 scholars to see what they have been up to. When I went to this post titled "Portals of Discovery" I was just so impressed with the understanding these students were able to express about the world issues they are studying with the grounding of expert analysis into the morphology and etymology of written wrods which represented core concepts of these studies. 

As one example of what is to be found by visiting Ann's post, watch Emma's video presentation of her concept ladder for the word/concept of confomity. 


There are many other videos to explore there and the excellent description about the process of this work by Anne. I, for one was introduced to a new understanding of the word ruthless thanks to Johnathan's presentation. I also love that Ann shares videos of working with a student who -- through his presentation -- demonstrates to Ann that he needs clarity on the term "connotation". We get to see this student show us what he needs guidance in understanding by making a mistake in a safe setting, and then we get to watch as Ann expertly revisits that error in a follow up video. 

Perhaps this shouldn't be a big deal, but it seems to me that we are often too afraid to post videos or discuss classroom encounters that include students or teachers making mistakes -- a practice that belies the standard "School Mission Statement" that learners are "risk takers". So thank you to Ann and her students for their sharing of the process of encountering big fat juicy mistakes that teach us all.

When I saw Ann's post, I asked if she would be willing to share resources and a description of this task so that other teachers might be able to make use of and adapt it for their own purposes. Ann sent me a gold mine of resources to share. Let me first, however, take the liberty of copying and pasting key statements in her introduction to the idea behind this "concept ladder" assignment:


If you haven't gone yet, now head directly the the full post on Ann's Word Nerds blog with more student generated videos and Ann's description of the process. 

If you find this work of Ann and her students inspiring, please share comments in her blog and/or in the string below. If you make use of Ann's resources that she has so kindly prepared and shared, please use the comment butten below to share with her and our community how their tossing of this orthographic pebbles set ripples of learning around the world. If you need help with sharing documents, pictures or video, please contact me This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and/or Matt "Real Spellers" Berman This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. himself!