Fantastic tips to help students learn and practise vocabulary

Anchor Point:1Word Boggle

  • Group students into three’s or four’s.
  • Give each group a topic.
  • Give them small cards or pieces of paper and instruct them to make their own words cards for as many words that they can remember.
  • Tell them they only have one minute.
  • They get a point for each word.

Extension

  • Pass the topic onto another group.
  • The new group has one minute to write as many words as they can think of from the same topic.
  • They then compare their words with the words from the first group.
  • They get a point for every word they have written which is not in the words from the first group.
  • They lose a point for each word the first group thought of which is not on their list.
  • They get 0 points for words that both groups thought of. 

Anchor Point:2Two minute taboo

Create a table with 5 x 6 cells of words from a content topic being studied organised into language function areas to include noun phrases, verb phrases, prepositional phrases, adverbial phrases and others.

  • Show the students the table.
  • Split the class into two teams.
  • Give each team one minute to guess words in the table as you describe them.
  • Do this by describing words at random from the table (you may like to cut up the words and select one randomly from the pile). For each word they get correct give them one point. Stop describing words after one minute. Count the number of words the students guessed correctly.
  •  Now do the same with the other the second group and see which team got the most correct.

Anchor Point:3Word of the week

Students create a wall space or poster for difficult words or words of particular interest from the unit of work they are studying. Students should:

  • annotate the word according to its function in the sentence
  • write collocates which go with the word
  • write synonym phrases
  • write the definition
  • write an example sentence to show the word in context
  • provide a translation.
  • Different pairs or groups of students can be responsible each week for a new word.  The words can be voted on and the winning  pair/group presented with a prize  for word of the term, year etc.

Anchor Point:4Language support sheets

  • Select a text that you will be studying with your class.
  • Read the text and underline any phrases in the text (verb, adjective, adverb, preposition, conjunction) which are key to being able to talk or write about the topic.
  • Copy out the words and find synonym phrases.
  • Organize the phrases into function areas and print out a handout for the students to support them talking or writing about the topic in question.

Anchor Point:5Test yourself

This is something that you can encourage your students to do to help them remember new vocabulary.

  • Get a shoebox.
  • Write out words and phrases to be learnt on small pieces of paper with the English on one-side and mother tongue translation of the word or phrase on the other.
  • Place the shoebox in your bedroom or the bathroom or any other room at home.
  • Every time you enter the room, take out one of the pieces of paper and test yourself. 
  • Alternative 1: write new words on one side and write synonym phrases on the other.
  • Alternative 2: write new words on one side and write collocates on the other.
  • Alternative 3: write new words on one side and definition on the other.

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