Students at Hoffman Estates High School recently spent a week learning to appreciate the power of words.
The entire student body at Hoffman Estates High School participated in a "Wardrobe of Words" event, which was a weeklong celebration about the importance of words and language. Events included several guest speakers, readings and word games during lunches.
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"WOW stands for a Wardrobe of Words, and the premise is that regardless of discipline -- English, math, science, art, music, P.E. -- words surround us," said Kathy Phillips, Hoffman Estates High School English teacher and creator/co-sponsor of WOW. "We can't do anything without language to instruct, to guide, criticize, compliment, etc. Words truly are our fiber and we wear them at our core. When we wear them well, we speak well, hence a wardrobe of words."
Students embraced learning new words and appreciated the fact that different parts of the building use different jargon. For instance, words that are commonly used in the Science Department are different from words used in Family and Consumer Sciences. Phillips said those words were posted on the walls inside the building. Additionally, the events were used to promote positive language in the hallways, as opposed to words that are associated with negativity or bullying.
When anyone walked into Hoffman Estates High School, they would immediately see words that are associated with the language of administration. Continuing through the building, there were words posted on the walls that represented the language of the hall monitors, nursing staff, and various academic departments. In the cafeteria, students decided to create a word ranking system. There were 29 sets of words and students ranked them in the categories of "good," "better," or "best" word choices.
"The goal of the project was to engage the masses and to incorporate our school in a celebration of language," Phillips said. "It was also to recognize that everyone has a voice and that we use it differently depending on whatever discipline we are in. Regardless of our what our discipline is, we use words."
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