Teaching difficult SAT vocabulary words to high school students can lead to some surprising examples. Who would guess that Hannah Montana would rescue me and help everyone remember the definition of CONTENTIOUS:
ME: Can anyone tell the class what CONTENTIOUS means?
STUDENT 1: I can! You taught us that the prefix “OUS” means “full of.” So CONTENTIOUS means “full of contentment”
ME: The tricky CB test writers strike again. They want you to think that CONTENTIOUS means “contented.” But actually in a debate a “contention” is a point of argument. So CONTENTIOUS means “argumentative.”
STUDENT 2: I’m confused.
STUDENT 3: Mr. Krieger I have a great way to remember CONTENTIOUS.
ME: Great! Quick, tell us!
STUDENT 3: Well its got to do with an old Hannah Montana episode.
ME: Hannah Montana???
STUDENT 3: Yes, really. In one episode Hannah’s class is on an overnight camping trip. Hannah, Lilly, Amber, and Ashley promptly have a big argument over who actually built the tent. Look the word TENT is in conTENTious. So the TENT in conTENTious reminds me of their big argument.
ME: That works! Great tip! Now let’s take a look at how CONTENTIOUS is used in a critical reading question.
(Moral to the story – there is a great example for every word. You just have to find it!)

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