Vivacious Vocabulary Teaching Ideas
Oct 19th, 2012 | By Brandi Jordan | 1 Comment » | Category: Grades 4-6, Grades K-3, Language Arts 4/6, Language Arts K/3, Lead Article
Make vocabulary fun! The easiest way for students to remember what words mean and how they are spelled is if they are actively engaged. Try the ideas below to keep your students’ minds going as they build their vocabulary bank.
Vocabulary Home Run!
Here’s a baseball-inspired game that’s fun to play. To play, you can use any skill or drill you wish. For example, you may use math facts, spelling words, vocabulary words and definitions, science review questions, US states and capitals, etc.
Play continues for 9 innings, or until one team makes a predetermined number of points, or when a predetermined time is up and then the team with the most points is the winner.
Get the Wiggles Out While Working on Vocabulary and Spelling
The students in Lisa’s First Grade Class in St. Amant, LA must love when it is time to review spelling and vocabulary words! Why? Because Lisa makes it fun! “To practice vocabulary, word wall, or spelling words, I get my students to use many movement activities to chant our words. Their current favorite is disco. They point (like John Travolta) while spelling the words. We also do Mexican Hat Dance, Army (marching in place as we spell and saluting as we say the word), Fishing (cast, reel in on each letter, hook the fish on the word), Rocket (start low, move up for each letter, to say the word, squat down and jump up), Cheerleader (give me a __, what does that spell?), Mouse (hold nose and use a squeeky voice). We use these and many more to practice spelling and word wall words. It gives the students an opportunity to get up and move around, and helps keep learning fun.”
Create an Investment in Vocabulary
As every teacher knows, when a student takes responsibility for learning something, whether it is a skill or a vocabulary word, he is much more likely to remember it. This innovative idea comes from Sheryl, a First Grade Teacher, in Clinton, OH. “I started something last year that has become very popular in my class and successful in helping build vocabulary,” she explained.
“Each day a volunteer child brings in a vocabulary word and teaches this word to the class. The children sign up for a day that they want to be responsible for the word. It is amazing how many children want to participate. The child must bring in a word, its meaning, and use the word in a sentence. They write their word on the whiteboard in the front of the room and the rest of the class copies the word in their own dictionaries (these are pages that are arranged in alphabetical order and the children can add words to the pages).
What has been so wonderful about this activity is that the children get experience with using a dictionary (with parent support) and also with taking a word apart. When the child writes the word on the board, we all look to see what we recognize in the ‘big’ new word. For instance, today a child brought in the word ‘companion.’ They are not allowed to pronounce their word until we see if we can figure the word out. We do know that because there are three vowel sounds, this word will have three syllables. We also have learned that we usually separate a word between the two consonants “m p” in this word unless they are a blend. We looked at the word and recognized some of our chunks: an and on. Then we tried to figure out the word. One of my poorer readers was able to figure out the word after we dissected it. Then the child who brought in the word tells the meaning and a sentence. Then I allow three more children to use our new word in a sentence.
This has been a great learning experience of using a dictionary and taking apart words. I only let children that volunteer to bring in a word because most likely their parents will help them. I do not like to pressure a child if they are not ready for this skill. Another important aspect of this activity is that it gives a child a chance to perform in front of the whole group and to play teacher for the 5 or 10 minutes that this particular exercise takes. I started doing this at the very beginning of the year with my best readers, but now most of the class wants to be involved with the experience of bringing in words. I have gotten positive responses from the parents, too.”
What are some of your favorite ways to make vocabulary fun? Share with us below?