Vocabulary activities are among my most flexible teaching tools.
I frequently plan them into a lesson as bell work or for learning stations.
But just as often, I pull vocabulary activities out for a small group review, for an intervention specialist to use with my students, or as a ready to go activity when I have some unexpected extra time or a schedule change.
I always have them ready to go and easy to access on a minute’s notice.
If you’ve already seen my first 7 Vocabulary Activities HERE, #1 below is worth repeating. It’s the single most important thing you can do to help students master vocabulary!!
1) Speak the Vocabulary – Constantly!!
Vocabulary is the short hand of any subject.
The whole purpose of learning vocabulary is to use it and to understand it appropriately in writing and conversation.
No fun vocabulary game is going to enhance student mastery if you’re not using vocabulary ALL THE TIME during class.
And even more importantly, your students need to use vocabulary terms whenever they’re asking a question or offering a comment.
Every time your students hear a vocabulary word in context, they score one more opportunity for mastery.
2) Crossword Puzzle
Crossword Puzzles are easy to make with Eclipse Crossword.
Make it once and use it every year. I like differentiating with and without a word bank.
3) I Have, Who Has
This is a great game that I always have handy for a quicky time filler or planned activity.
I love that students have to be listening carefully and answering the questions in their heads to play correctly.
If you’re unfamiliar with I Have, Who Has here are the directions:
- Cut out the cards and distribute at least one card to each student – it is okay if some students have 2 cards while some have 1 card.
- The student who has the card marked “Start/Finish” reads his/her card out loud for all to hear – “I have Huang He. Who has train plant or animals to be useful to humans?”
- All students listen to see if they possess the card that answers the question “Who has train plant or animals to be useful to humans?”
- Since “Domesticate” is the correct term, the student who holds the “I have Domesticate. Who has wall built along river to prevent flooding?” card reads his/her card out loud for the class to hear.
- Since “Levee” is the correct term, the student holding that card then reads it out loud.
- This pattern continues until “I have Permafrost. Who has “ ’Yellow River’ colored by yellow loess?” reads his/her card out load and the student who started the entire game then reads out loud again,” I have Huang He” to end the game.
- The teacher needs to moderate to make sure the correct student is answering each question in the pattern or the game will not cycle back to the student holding the Start/Finish card.
4) Reader’s Theater
I wish I had used Reader’s Theater scripts more than I did. Students happily focus on the story aspect of Reader’s Theater while not even realizing they’re improving fluency and mastering vocabulary terms and concepts.
Click on the cover to link to Amazon.
This is a fun game with student choice. Just print a bunch of blank sheets and keep them handy.
Students write vocabulary terms in each BINGO space. The game leader reads the definition and one students volunteers the correct matching term. Students mark that vocabulary term on their board.
Play for 5 in a row, four corners, or the entire board!
If you have fewer than 25 vocabulary terms, just make 4 x 4 boards!
To conserve paper, why not print out blank boards that you can place in plastic sheet protectors to use over and over!
Students take turns being “it.” Give each “it” student a task card or slip of paper with one vocabulary term. They either act out or draw an illustration of the term for classmates to guess.
7) Video Clips
I love to mix short video clips into my lessons. I look for high quality clips that are vocabulary heavy – like TEDEd.
Where can I find Vocabulary Activities?
My Looking to the Past Vocabulary Resources include 5 different activities:
- Presentation/Word Wall Slides
- Hexagonal Thinking Puzzle
- Task Cards
- Crossword Puzzle
- I Have, Who Has
Click HERE for a complete look at my Ancient History Vocabulary Activities.
Add them to your teacher toolbox today!!
And if you want to take a look at 7 additional Vocabulary Activities, just click HERE!