## Fun With Dollar Words: 100 Day Word Challenge

1-2-3 Come Add To 100 With Me

I must confess I'm a flitter.  I endeavor to try and stay focused 'til I complete a task, but this proves rather difficult when I'm doing research on the Internet.

One thing leads to another, and pretty soon I find it's late afternoon and I haven't accomplished a thing.  I've enjoyed learning all sorts of trivia, and have added to my already too full list of things I want to design, but I've gotten off the beaten track.   Anyone out there do something similar while planning a lesson?

The result of my craziness, has come up with something I think your students will enjoy, and works well for a 100 Day celebration too.

I stumbled upon several math sites that asked students, "How much is your name worth?"

In order for children to calculate this, each letter is assigned a value according to its position in the alphabet.  i.e., The letter A is worth 1, B is worth 2, all the way up to the letter Z, which is worth 26.

I've included a bookmark key you can run off and give each student, that will make things easier, as well as a valuation worksheet you can also use.

So that younger students don't get confused, I made the numbers in red, green, and blue so that they stand out.

After students get the hang of this concept by adding up their name, challenge them to find a word that is worth 100.  So that I could find a few words, without having to rack my brain, I Googled words worth 100

To my surprise, this led to the term "Dollar" words.  Quite a few teachers all over the planet seem to be challenging their kiddo's to find the value of words.

Just an FYI, do NOT assign this as a homework assignment.  It will defeat the purpose of the lesson.  Any child with access to a computer will find all sorts of online help, lists, and even several sites that will calculate the amounts for them.

Instead, do this activity in class.  You want your students to practice all sorts of standards, as they think up words and add up numbers.

You also want them to have the joy of discovering their own 100-point word, which can be pretty exciting. Click on the link to view/download the 100 Dollar Word packet.

After your students have worked on this assignment in class, you can share 2 word calculation sites that I found: Math Lair. I think it would be fun for them to practice their keyboarding skills, typing in a variety of words, names and numbers to see their values.

I'm not sure who came up with the original idea, as there is a plethora of sites, activities, and information about calculating the value of names, words, etc.  The "game" was also listed in several math-activity books like Math For Smarty Pants by Marilyn Burns.

Perhaps the idea came because of a snide remark by Ernest Hemingway.  William Faulkner, also a prolific writer at the time, stated that "[Hemingway] had never been known to use a word that might send the reader to the dictionary."

In his defense, Hemingway shot back: "Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words? He thinks I don't know the ten-dollar words. I know them all right, but there are older and simpler and better words, and those are the ones I use."

Thus we have evolved from those ten-dollar words, to the dollar words that are popular today.  If you want to tie this activity into your 100-Day celebration, simply call them 100 dollar words, making each point worth one dollar.

One of the reasons I think this is such a tremendous activity, is because it is a great mental workout, which involves all sorts of other things besides counting and addition.  Students need to come up with a strategy, which involves critical thinking.

So that even young students with limited addition ability, can also do this activity, give students a dictionary and a calculator and set them loose.

So that older students get the much-needed addition practice in, have them figure out their word, and then check it with a calculator.  After they have done a specific amount of "ciphering" allow them to use the calculators, so that they are able to practice more problems.

With so many students working on so many words, teachers may find it difficult to give students immediate feedback, which speeds up the learning process.  However, allowing students to use calculators, to check their answers that they have come up with by themselves, solves the problem and guarantees correct results.

For many younger students, using a calculator is a first-time experience and makes the entire process less frustrating and more fun.  The use of a dictionary helps build vocabulary, reinforces spelling and gives them all sorts of dictionary-skill practice, such as alphabetizing.  You could also introduce your students to a thesaurus if you haven't already done so.

Besides problem-solving math, you can also review parts of speech.  Which words are nouns, verbs, or adjectives?  Did you come up with any compound words?

So that this activity is not overwhelming for your struggling students, break things down.   Are you studying prefixes and suffixes?  Have students make a list of them and give them a value.

A root word may not add up to 100, but how does adding a prefix or suffix help? For example, adding ed to a verb increases its value by 9.  Adding ing to a verb increases its value by 30 and reduces the target value for the root verb to 70.

The strategy then, is  breaking down a large problem into smaller ones that are more easily solved.

Are you stuck at 99? Can you add an S to make the word pluralAdding S to a word increases its value by 19 and reduces the target value for the root word to 81, offering you a teachable moment to review the concept of singular and plural.

Give students a certain amount of time on their own and then break them up into small groups, so they can help each other and work on cooperative learning.

After students have worked on this 100-Day word challenge for the allotted time, give them some help, by suggesting clues for the different "dollar words." For example, "Something you'll find in all bathrooms is this plural dollar word."  Answer: toilets

To make this easy for you, I've done a day's worth of work finding dollar words, so that you don't have to.  I've come up with a list of 740 dollar words!

There are a variety of lists out there with more, but mine is alphabetized, checked, student-appropriate, spelled correctly, does not contain proper names and lists only real words.

To save you even more time, I've also made up a list of clues for 60 dollar words that your students should be familiar with.

Print off my clues and have each student choose one, or have children work in groups with the same clue, to see who can figure it out first.

I've included an answer key for you, so you don't have to strain your brain.

When a dollar word has been correctly identified, give students another clue.

You can award points and give out the Dollar Word certificates to the winners.

So that younger children don't feel left out, I've also included certificates for participation.

Later, share the list and have students find out how many letters the longest dollar word had.

What was the shortest dollar word?  I've included a worksheet for that.  There is one that features the dollar bill if you are doing Dollar words, as well as one with a 100-dollar bill at the top, if you're using this for a 100-Day activity.

Honduras, Milwaukee, and Tallahatchie were all 100-point places that I found.  Kristin, Henrietta, Paulette and Suzanne, were 100-point names, and Wednesday is the day of the week that is worth 100.

Are there dollar words on the list that your students don't know?  Have them choose 10 to look up.

I've included a My Dollar Word or My 100 Dollar Word dictionary for your students to record things in.

This is a wonderful Daily 5- word work activity.
You could also have students use different colored highlighters to show which words are verbs, adjectives, nouns, or compound words.

Click on the link to view/download the 100-Day Word Challenge packet.

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"Teaching is the power to think clearly; the power to act well in world's work, and the power to appreciate life." -Brigham Young

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