Learning Center For Grades 9–12: A Week Of ELA Learning Activities

Welcome to our teacher-reviewed High School Student Learning Center!


Below, we’ve planned out daily activities to last a week. Check back next week for updated activities as well!

We know you high school students are plenty full with online learning activities just about now.

But, during breaks from your school courses, pop on over to Dictionary.com and try out our daily activities to keep your brain fresh and to learn something new about language. Plus, we’ve created opportunities for you to teach your parents (or younger siblings) a thing or two as well!

Starting at day 1, we’ve organized 7 themed activities that have self-guided and family-fun components. We also welcome all feedback, ideas, and suggestions about these activities because we’ll be adding a new round next week!

*If videos aren’t rendering correctly, try refreshing the page!

Day 1: Test prep

Self-guided activities:

1. Even though the SAT may be postponed this year, it doesn’t hurt to keep your vocab skills up to date. Take the following test prep quizzes to see if you’re ready for the big test.

2. Learn more about roots of words by looking for some that come from Native American languages.

  • Exploring Dictionary.com and and the slideshow above, identify 5 words that come from this language.
  • Look up each word on Dictionary.com and provide a basic definition of the term in your words.
  • Using the Origin section on each Dictionary.com definition page, identify when the word entered English.
  • Answer the following questions about the word:
    • What did the term mean in its original language?
    • How might the term have come to be borrowed into English? (Use your knowledge of history along with internet searches.)
    • Does it surprise you that this word comes from this language? Explain.

3. Learn about what the A, C, and T mean in the ACT test by reading this article.

Family time activities:

1. Have your parent take the test prep quizzes above. Can you beat their scores?

2. If you have younger siblings, teach them about some of the words you found with Native American roots. Then, explain to them why there are different Native American languages.

Day 2: Grammar

Self-guided activities:

1. Watch these grammar game shows to see if you can compete with our video contestants:

WATCH: Thesaurus.com Presents The Gigantic, Gratifying, Grammar Gameshow


WATCH: Who vs. Whom: Can You Answer That Plus More Grammar Questions?


2. Do you know how to use punctuation in text messages? Read through this article to see if you agree with this advice: How To Use Punctuation In Text Messages

3. Write your next essay in Thesaurus.com’s Writing Tool. Or write a response to one of our writing prompts.

  • Check the grammar and see if you can figure out what the fixes should be. Browse our grammar articles for tips on what you may be doing incorrectly.

Family time activity:

1. A lot of people have “grammar pet peeves.” Watch this video to see some.

WATCH: What Are Some Of The Biggest Grammar Pet Peeves?


2. Have each member of your family share out what their “grammar pet peeve” is. Write them down and put them up on your fridge or around your house to remember the grammar rule in the future.

Day 3: Word origins

Self-guided activities:

1. Watch some of these videos about the surprising origins of common words. What’s something new you learned after watching these videos?

WATCH: Where Did The Term "Hypochondriac" Come From?


WATCH: Where Did The Word "Narcissist" Come From?


2. Look at our Word of the Day page and read through some of the origins of these words. Can you explain how the origins tell us more about each word and its meaning? Write a couple of your explanations down in the Thesaurus.com Writing Tool.

3. Find words that originated in the Arabic language.

  • Exploring Dictionary.com and the slideshow above, identify 5 words that come from this language.
  • Using each word’s definition page, provide a basic definition of the term in your words.
  • Using the Origin section on each Dictionary.com definition page, identify when the word entered English.
  • Answer the following questions about the word:
    • What did the term mean in its original language?
    • How might the term have come to be borrowed into English? (Use your knowledge of history along with internet searches.)
    • Does it surprise you that this word comes from this language? Explain.

Family time activity:

1. Play a game: 20 Questions!

This is a variant on the classic game, but here, instead of an object, people guess a word.

  • One person thinks of a word and other players have 20 questions to guess what word it is. Use Dictionary.com to help come up with words.
  • Questions have to be yes or no questions.
  • Use knowledge about words to guide questions. Think about yes/no questions you can form around these areas:
    • What part of speech is it?
    • Is it a big word or an everyday word?
    • How many syllables is the word?
    • Does it have one main meaning or lots of meanings?
    • Spelling, pronunciation, and origin
  • When the round is over, look up the word and its meanings on Dictionary.com.

Day 4: Career day

Self-guided activities:

1. Watch this video on unique careers you may have never heard of:

WATCH: Did You Know The Names Of These Unique Careers?


2. Watch another video specifically about people who write the definitions in a dictionary: lexicographers.

WATCH: Did You Know Real People Write The Dictionary?


3. Read this slideshow about some more unique careers you never knew existed: From Fartistes to Chicken Sexers: The Strangest Jobs You Could Have

4. In Thesaurus.com’s Writing Tool, write a paragraph about which unique career from the videos above you might like to do. Why?

  • Find someone online who does this career and write about their job experience.

5. Create your own resume using our template from this article: How Do I Write A Résumé?

Family time activity:

1. Watch a movie with your younger siblings (or parents) and write down all of the careers the characters in the movie have.

  • If watching with younger siblings, ask them what they think the different careers mean? Then, when the movie is over, look up the careers in the dictionary and see if any of you were correct!
  • If watching with parents, ask your parents about their job history and see if you can guess what their job responsibilities were as they talk about their experiences.

Day 5: Expand your vocabulary

Self-guided activities:

1. Play our Dictionary.com Treasure Hunt! There’s even a real treasure prize if you answer all 10 clues correctly …

2. Take this quiz about words for phobias: Learn The Names Of 13 Phobias In This Scary Quiz!

3. Watch this video about unique words for passionate people:

WATCH: Words For "Cheese Lover" And Other Passions


4. Read through our Words of the Day from the past week, listen to the podcast, and then take the Word of the Day quiz!

5. Build a word. A robust vocabulary isn’t just about knowing big words, as much as we love terms like vicissitude and eleemosynary. It’s also recognizing word elements—like prefixes, stems, and suffixes—and using knowledge of their meaning to help determine the meaning of other words containing those parts.

Below are ten prefixes from Latin or Greek that are used in many words in English.


  1. Pick three prefixes.
  2. Look up the prefix on Dictionary.com by clicking the links above.
  3. Provide a basic definition of the prefix in your own words.
  4. Identify 3 other words that use the prefix.
  5. Provide a definition of each word in your own words.
  6. Using info in the Origin section on each Dictionary.com definition page and your knowledge about the prefix, explain what that word literally means.
  7. Briefly explain how you can use knowledge of the prefix to predict the meaning of other words you don’t know that feature the prefix.

Family time fun:

1. Play a game: Wordie challenge!

  • Have each family member pick the most obscure word they can from the dictionary.
  • Next, have the other players try to guess the word’s meaning.
  • Those who get closest get a point.
  • The most points wins both the round and the title of family wordie.

Day 6: Slang & emoji

Self-guided activities:

1. Did you know we have a Slang Dictionary? Explore it and see if you can learn anything new!

2. Do you know how emoji are created? Read these articles to find out more: Where Do Our Favorite Emoji Come From?

3. Can you translate these emoji phrases into English?

WATCH: We Asked People To Translate These Emojis Into English


WATCH: Emoji Challenge: Can You Translate More Emoji Into English?


4. Did you know there are synonyms and antonyms of slang words? Can you think of more slang synonyms and slang antonyms? (Hint: browse our Slang Dictionary to find more words!) Send them to us on social media!

5. Create your own slang word and document how people should use it. Send it us on social!

Family time fun:

1. Flip the Script: Slang Edition

Adults have to teach the teenager a slang term from their youth. The more eye-roll-inducing, the better.

  • Adults say or write an appropriate slang term from their youth. (Use these slideshows from the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s for help!)
  • The teen has to guess what it means.
  • Give clues after initial guess by using the slang term in a sentence.
  • The teen then has to provide the modern-day equivalent to the slang term.
  • Adults and teens discuss: What do the slang terms have in common? Any qualities or characteristics, any topics or situations they got used in? What is different about the slang terms.
  • Then, adults and teens have to pretend that time-travel 50 years into the future. They have to imagine what the new slang term equivalent for the terms above will be. Discuss why you chose the word you did. What makes for a good slang term?

2. Draw some emoji for your younger siblings and ask them what the emoji name is and what the emoji is doing/feeling. (Use our Emoji Dictionary to help you!)

Day 7: This or that: differences between similar words

Self-guided activities:

1. Watch the following videos about words that commonly get confused with each other. Do you know the differences between them?

WATCH: This Or That: "Delicious" vs. "Luscious"


WATCH: This Or That: Dramatic vs. Melodramatic


WATCH: What Is The Difference Between "Psychopath" vs. "Sociopath"?


2. Read some more articles about commonly confused words that apply to current events so you know more about what is happening in the news:

3. Take our Commonly Confused Words Quiz. What was your score?

Family time fun:

1. Make your own video (with your family or siblings) that explains the differences between 2 very similar words. Use props to help explain the differences! Share the video with us on social media!

The Dictionary Is More Than The Word Of The Day

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