Teaching vocabulary words can get to be pretty boring for the teacher and the students. Who really wants to be repeating “triangle” over and over again for three minutes? Luckily, there are some fun things that you can do to change it up for you and the students. Here are some ideas for vocabulary games:
The little ones love this. Have them repeat the words but changing their voice for each round. My favorites are the deep voice, baby voice and a spooky voice. You can also change the pace in which you say them. To make sure they are actually learning the words make sure you change the order of the flashcards/objects/etc. For instance, for the first couple of rounds on shapes we use the same order: circle, triangle, square, rectangle. Then we change our voices and the order of the objects so we don’t just memorize the pattern of words.
______ or _______ ?
Kids won’t be able to memorize the new vocabulary right away, no matter how many times you have them repeat the word in different voices. A good scaffolding technique to help them get to that level is to hold up the flashcard/object and ask them, “Is this a circle or a triangle?” By giving them options they are more likely to say the correct word. To make it more challenging have them answer in a complete sentence, “It is a circle.” (For primary school use this to review grammar, for example, giving two sentences and having students choose which one is grammatically correct/uses a specific tense/etc.)
Same concept as the game most of played as kids. Start with one flashcard/object and the kids pass it around till the music stops. The student with the card has to say the name of the object. Each round add one more card to make it more fun.
I have…, who has….?
Fun game! This one is also easy to prepare. Think of a flashcard divided into two boxes. On the top it says “I have….” with a picture of a triangle, and below that it says, “Who has…” with a picture of a circle. Divy out the flashcards equally (make sure you have a starting card and ending card), then start the game! You can do this for any subject. It forces kids to listen and challenges them to use complete sentences. Once they get the hang of how to play you can use it all year round.
Try these different variations as often as you can until they start to memorize the words. These can be used as quick two-minute warm-ups before the next activities or quick brain breaks during longer classes. Turn ___ or ___? into a competition by splitting the class into two teams and awarding points.
What are some different ways you teach vocabulary words?