One of the many wonderful applets by the folks at ReadWriteWeb, the Word Matrix is aimed at helping teachers with vocabulary instruction. Essentially, the tool helps students with the following concepts, as outlined on the website:

  • Become familiar with connotation and register
  • Help clarify differences between seemingly similar words
  • Explore the concept of diction in literary analysis
  • Encourage more precision in word choice in student writing

Students can choose to organize words by either connotation, register, or connotation and register. Then, they are presented with a chart and a list of words that can be dragged and dropped on the chart as they see fit, like in the example below.


Double-clicking on a term allows students to type in explanations of why they have placed a word in a certain place. By organizing the populated word lists, students are asked to grapple with the meaning, connotation (positive or negative), and register (formal or informal) of a number of vocabulary words.


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