Vocabulary Wrap-Up

(Continued from previous posting, “My First Vocabulary Lesson”)


STEP 1: Review spelling.

Game: Right-hand man. (Explain idiom.)

This game works best with a limited amount of new vocabulary. Many vocabulary textbooks (like Vocabulary Power) limit a lesson to approximately 10 key words. The game would likely fizzle out with a word list of 20+ items.

How to play: Ask students to close all books. Call on a student to give you the spelling of a vocabulary word. Write the word on the board exactly as the student spells it. The next student on the right can either confirm or change the spelling on the board. If they are correct, the class gets a point. The goal is to get 10 out of 10 (or whatever the number of new words is.) Playing as a whole class creates a supportive environment. If, however, you feel your students would benefit from competition, you could play in teams.


STEP 2: Review pronunciation.

Now that all words are on the board, you can do a quick pronunciation drill. Students will listen and repeat in chorus as you read the words aloud one at a time.


STEP 3: Check understanding of meanings and recognition of collocations.

Oral cloze exercise. This tests your own creativity, but you’ll likely enjoy the challenge. I always do.

How to do it: Explain to the students that you are going to tell them a story. They need to listen carefully and help you tell it. You will silently cue them when they need to supply the missing key words. (I like to draw a long imaginary line in the air to cue students. You can also use gestures and body language to help them.)  As they call out the missing words to complete your story, you will erase the words off the board. This helps you focus on the vocabulary you have yet to include, and the process of choosing becomes easier for the students. Remember you can be a little silly. In fact, the stranger the story, the more memorable it will be. If threading 10 key words together in one coherent story gives you writer’s block, you can create two shorter stories.


Keywords from Chapter 1, Vocabulary Power 1

“Yesterday was my grandmother’s birthday. It was a very special OCCASION. It was her 80th birthday, so we cooked her a big FEAST. [Teacher gestures eating.] It was a fun party, and everyone was in high SPIRITS.  [Teacher uses a facial expression of great happiness.] Everyone spent lots of money on great gifts, and my grandmother complained that we were too GENEROUS. But the funny thing was that she looked like a little kid when she saw the LOAD of presents she was getting.  [Teacher gestures a load of presents to carry.] She got upset when she saw the cake with so many candles. She said it was not nice and very MEAN to tell the world her age. [Teacher assumes an appropriate facial expression.] We didn’t know if she was serious. Then she laughed. We knew she was joking. Her laughter was PROOF. My grandmother ate a lot of cake. She said she knew cake wasn’t good for her, but because it was her birthday she didn’t feel GUILTY about eating so much. What do you think about being old? Do you CONSIDER 80 to be old? Many would say yes. My grandmother would say no.  I can SETTLE the argument by showing you the video of her dancing on top of the coffee table at her 80th birthday party.”

If you prepared the story ahead of time, photocopies can be distributed after the exercise is completed. Encourage students to review the story at home. 


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s