Jul 18, 2019

Vocabulary Practice: Making it Meaningful

Gadzooks! I just LOVE words!  These are just a few of my favorites!  Do you have some words that you just love?  So what is all this brouhaha over teaching vocabulary you ask?  Well...vocabulary is such an important part of reading instruction!  Research says that kids need to be exposed to a word 6-12 times before they actually master the word!  Putting words into a center for kids to "work on" just isn't enough!  Having them look up words in the dictionary is not only boring, but a meaningless activity!  I'm not saying throw the dictionaries out but giving a list of words and having them copy definitions is a waste of time!  1.  Some definitions leave the students stumped and continuing to question the meaning.  2. Copying definitions isn't going to help them master a word's meaning. 3. Many words have multiple meanings, so more than likely they are going to copy the shortest definition whether it is the one that matches the meaning you are teaching...or they are going to be asking, "Which definition do I copy?"    When it comes to vocabulary practice, there needs to be more!!  

But what?!?
Are you bumfuzzled at what to do?
   Well, I have some activities that will please even your persnickety students...and it won't cause a great hullabaloo in your classroom!

The following are activities to be done in small groups/centers.

*Roll The Dice*
Students choose a word from a list.  The first student rolls the die.  Depending on the number rolled, the student will do the following...
1 = define the word
2 = use it in a sentence
3 = say a synonym for the word
4 = say an antonym for the word
5 = draw a picture (use scratch paper or a small whiteboard)
6 = act it out
*Make a Poster*
Provide computer paper, colorful markers, and a list of words.  Students will choose a word and write it in big, bold, fancy (or in bubble letters).  They must include a definition of the word in their own words.  Then they add several pictures to show the meaning of the word.

*That's Nonsense*
Give students a set of sentences.  In each sentence, put a nonsense word in place of a vocabulary word.  Students have to change the nonsense word to the correct vocabulary word.

*Word Pairs*
Make cards with two words on each.  The cards should have words that are related by synonyms or antonyms, or unrelated words.  Place the cards in a stack.  One student reads the card and everyone writes what kind of relationship the words have or if they are unrelated. Those that get it correct earns a point.  At the end of the game, total up the points to see who wins.

*Acrostic Poem*
A focus word is written in bold letters down the page, as shown below...

The focus word is the subject of the poem.  Students will write phrases that start with each letter and are related to the word, as shown below...

*Comic Strip*
Students create a comic strip by using several of their vocabulary words.  You can create a template for them to use, or fold computer paper to make the panels.

*Four Square (Frayer Model)*
Students use the four square to fill in the info for the word.  They place one vocabulary word in the oval.  Then they use the boxes to...1.  Write the definition. 2. Write a sentence using the word. 3.  Write an synonym. 4. Write a antonym.

Students fold computer paper to create four boxes on the front/four on the back.  In each box, they write a vocabulary word, sentence with the word, and draw/color a picture of their sentence.

The following are activities to be done in a small group with the teacher leading the activity.

*The "W" Game*
Ask students questions that start with the letter W, like who, what, when, where, why, or which.
An example would be: 

"What animal might you find in a desert?  

*Tell Me About It*
This activity is very similar to the previous one.  The teacher will ask students to tell about things that pertain to their vocabulary words.
An example would be:

"Tell me about a time when you felt triumphant."

I best skedaddle now!  I need to see what shenanigans my pups have been up to!
(BTW did you see how I worked my favorite words into the post? lol)

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