As a supplement to main site, The Word Guy posts daily tweets that define a word and provide its etymology – in less than 140 characters.

Teachers of English who follow the tweets may want to consider using them as part of their English lessons, especially if they have students who are already familiar with using Twitter as a message service.

So here are some generic lesson plans that you can use with your students on a daily basis.


See, Say, Check

For each tweet:

  • Look at the word
  • Say the word
  • Check a dictionary to see if you are saying it correctly

Example: The word is “thunder.” You have to say THUN-duh, with the stress on the first part and the sound TH made with the tongue between your teeth. If you say TUN-duh, you are using your tongue behind your teeth.

Reason: This lesson helps you with the SOUNDS of the English language. By practicing how each word is spoken, you can improve your ability to be understood.


Find a Synonym

For each tweet:

  • Think of another word that means something similar
  • Use a thesaurus to find other similar words (synonyms)

Example: The word is “talent.” Similar words are “gift,” “skill,” and “aptitude.”

Reason: Finding synonyms is a great way to increase you vocabulary.


Find an Antonym

For each tweet:

  • Think of a word that means the opposite
  • Use a thesaurus to find other opposites (antonyms)

Example: The word is “soon.” The opposite could be “late” or even “never.”

Reason: You can increase you vocabulary significantly by find the opposites of words.


Find Another Meaning

For each tweet:

  • Think about whether there is another meaning for the word
  • Use a dictionary to check for other meanings of the word

Example: The word is “comic” and the tweet definition is “Something funny or amusing.” It can also be “a person who tells jokes” or “a picture book with strips telling a story.”

Reason: Some English words have more than one meaning. It is important to understand these so as to avoid confusion or even embarrassment.


What’s The Link?

For a series on tweets on a single day:

  • Work out what the connection is between the daily tweets

Example: The three words are “hop,” “skip,” and “jump.” These words appear in the phrase “a hop, skip and a jump,” which means something very close e.g. “The beach is only a hop, skip and a jump from this hotel.”

Reason: Finding links between words lets you increase you knowledge of how words can be connected in meaning. Links can also help you understand English idioms.


Parts Of Speech

For each tweet:

  • What Part of Speech is the tweet?
  • Use a dictionary to find the Part of Speech
  • What other Parts of Speech might the word also be?

Example: The word is “book” and the definition is “Paper pages fastened along one side and encased between covers” This is a NOUN – it refers to a thing. In a dictionary, you will find “book” can also be used as a VERB e.g. “I need to book a ticket.”

Reason: Some words in English can be used in different parts of speech. Which part of speech they are being used with will affect how they change.


Make a Sentence

For each tweet:

  • Make up a sentence using the word
  • Make up a second sentence using the word

Example: The word is “busy” and a sentence could be “I am too busy to come” or “He is very busy this morning.”

Reason: Learning how to use words in sentences is essential to understanding and improving English.


Chop It Up and Mix It Up

For each tweet:

  • Try to take a piece of the word and use it to create another real word

Example: The word is “cheeky.” Other words include “cheekier” (“He is much cheekier these days”), “cheekily” (“Tom answered the teacher cheekily”) and “cheeks” (“What chubby cheeks your baby has!”).

Reason: Words can be made up of smaller elements. Learning how to recognize and use these smaller elements can help you identify new and unknown words.