Learning About Language

Word Matrix

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About this Interactive


The Word Matrix is a tool designed to assist teachers in vocabulary instruction, but it has flexible applications in literary analysis and writing instruction as well. The interactive tool can be used to teach students the concepts of connotation and register; to help clarify differences between seemingly similar words; to explore the concept of diction in literary analysis; or to encourage more precision in word choice in student writing.

Using preconfigured word lists (or a list of synonyms they populate themselves), students organize words by their connotative charge on one axis, placing words with more negative connotations to the left and more positive connotations to the right. On another axis, students organize that same list based on their levels of relative register, from informal to formal. Students also have the option of providing a brief statement that justifies their placement of a word at a specific point on the matrix.

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