Creating Vocabulary Activities


The vocabulary assembly line is:

  1. Generate a word list
  2. Generate definitions
  3. Sort the list for batch entry
  4. Make repetition fun
  5. Generate pronunciation and spelling exercises
  6. Generate examples of usage in context
  7. Create associations
  8. Link to an image
  9. Link to a location
  10. Link to an emotion
  11. Be memorable
  12. Put it all together

First, we made a vocabulary list and generated definitions for the list using Wordsmyth.  Then we used SortMyList to organize and format the list. Finally, we used Google Translate in an L1 that would be useful for our students and posted the results on the course wiki.  Here’s my final list, which I made to go with the unit I’ll hopefully start with my beginner middle school ESL students this week as long as we don’t have any more snow days!  I went ahead and made changes to the translation given to me by Google Translate, which I don’t think I’d ever use for this purpose, since it took more time to edit the list and get it to post correctly to the wiki than to translate it myself!

What are your thoughts on using the seven principles of memorization as a factor in creating vocabulary lesson and/or employing these in your vocabulary instruction?  

  1. Timed repetition
  2. Link to an image
  3. Associate elements
  4. Link to a location
  5. Link to an emotion
  6. Be memorable
  7. Be brief

I think that I use all seven principles of memorization in my classes, although sometimes the lessons are not as memorable as I would like them to be. I find it much easier to be memorable with the 2nd graders I teach than with the middle school students, mostly because the materials are rich in images and associations, as well as project work, from the start. The middle school materials are much less visually pleasing, and require a lot of adaptation. Having (or making) concrete objects for my beginning students is always a plus.

When working with content-area vocabulary (tier 3), I try to use the six steps for teaching academic vocabulary:

  1. The teacher gives a description, explanation, or example of the new term.
  2. The teacher asks the learners to give a description, explanation, or example of the new term in their own words.
  3. The teacher asks the learners to draw a picture, symbol, or locate a graphic to represent the new term.
  4. The learners participate in activities that provide more knowledge of the word.
  5. The learners discuss the term with other learners
  6. Multiple exposures to the word.

The school I was at last year emphasized using this process, along with a lot of graphic organizers. Not so different from the seven principles…