Ways for Teachers to Use the Vocabulary Banks
  1. Have students write a short speech or paragraph using as many words and word forms from the list as possible. Give them topics or have them choose their own. Make it fun.
  2. Have students write sentences using two words from the vocabulary bank in each sentence. Ask for volunteers to read theirs to the class.
  3. Have students write a story using at least five, ten or twenty words from the list. The length of the story and number of vocabulary items used should depend on the studentsí level of proficiency.
  4. Have students work in pairs or groups of three to create at least three categories for the words on the list. After students have created the categories, ask them to put the words into those categories. Have the students explain to the class their rationale for word placement. Encourage creative thinking. You may want to do the entire process once as a class, demonstrating brainstorming techniques. As a follow-up, have students make cards with the category name at the top and the words listed below the category name. Distribute the cards in such a way that groups get a different category from the one they created. Using a timer, ask one person from each group to name the category and then begin giving verbal hints for each word on the list. That person's partner or group members should try to guess the words. They have only one minute per category, and gestures are not allowed.
  5. Have students categorize the words by parts of speech, number of syllables, syllable stress, and theme. Make a chart on the chalkboard, and introduce the activity with some examples.
  6. Ask students to draw a picture story relating to the unit theme. Have each student show his or her drawing while telling the story with at least five words from the list. Stick-figure drawings are allowed!
  7. Ask students to put all the words on the list into random groups of two or three. Then, have the students write sentences that associate the words in some way. Use of imagination is necessary. You may want to demonstrate, pointing out that the association could be one from personal experience or an outlandish situation the students make up themselves. Each association, however, must be explained to the group.
    Example: panic, provisions, floating
    panic/floating: If a person canít swim, the thought of floating may be frightening. Then the person would panic.
    panic/provisions: If a group goes camping and gets lost in the woods, they might get low on provisions and panic.
    provisions/floating: If I am floating in a lifeboat for days, I may run out of provisions.
  8. Word Game: Clean the Board. The object of the game is to ìclean the board.î Each team makes a 2 x 3 grid on a large piece of paper. Each team chooses six words from the vocabulary bank. Put each word on a small card, and place each card over a different box in the grid. Each team may choose different words.
    All teams play at the same time, competing against each other. One student on each team asks the teammates a question that elicits one of the words on the board. The teammates listen to the question and then answer it, using one of the words. If the teammates choose the correct word to answer the question, they may remove its card from the board. The winning team is the one that cleans the board first.
  9. Select a picture related to the unit theme. Display the picture prominently in the classroom. Ask students to select between five and ten words from the vocabulary bank that they feel they could use when talking about the picture. Have students explain the associations between the picture and the words they choose in small groups or pairs.
    Then, ask the students, working individually, to write sentences using their vocabulary words. The sentences may be related to the picture, but they don't have to be. Allow 15 minutes for writing. Circulate to give advice and correction.
    Then, group students in pairs to compare and discuss their sentences. Ask the students to change partners every two sentences or so, to ensure that everyone is active but no one is pressured to finish quickly.
    When everyone is ready, ask each student to read one sentence aloud. Tell the students to listen for similarities between the readersí sentences and their own.
  10. Select a newspaper article related to the unit theme. Ideally, the article should contain a number of the words from the vocabulary bank. Number the paragraphs in the article and divide the class into the same number of groups as you have paragraphs. Tell the students to read through their section of the article and black out words belonging to the vocabulary bank so that they cannot be read. Students can also black out any new words. The students should keep a separate written record of the words they have blacked out. Tell them to number the words and the corresponding spaces. They may look up unknown words in the dictionary and add them to their vocabulary bank, if they wish.
    Now, ask the students to exchange their paragraphs with those of the other groups. Students should try to fill in the words that have been blacked out. When they are finished, students should get together with the makers of the test they have just completed and discuss the answers. Are the words they chose different from the original words? Do they make sense? Do they change the meaning or tone of the original?
  11. Group students in pairs, and have one play the teacher while the other plays the student. Ask them to quiz each other on the meanings of the words in a list and then change roles.
  12. Have the students make their own bingo boards with four columns and four rows. Then, ask them to take out their vocabulary banks and fill in the board with words of their choice from the list. You can provide definitions, synonyms, or antonyms for each of the words from the vocabulary bank. Read the clues in random order. To make the game more challenging you could read sentences using the vocabulary in context, reading each sentence without the vocabulary word, saying ìbingoî in its place. Students have to decide if a word on their board could complete the sentence correctly.
  13. Hand out the vocabulary bank, and ask the students to place a mark over the stressed syllable in each word. Pronounce the words. Have students work in small groups to categorize the words by the number of syllables or by stressed syllables.
  14. Select words with other useful word forms. Have the students make a chart and fill it in.
  15. Group password. Divide the students into two groups. Have the students name their teams. Give a vocabulary word, which the students must define with the help of their team. A correct answer wins a team one point. If the team misses, it goes to the other team for 1/2 a point.
  16. Pictionary. In groups, students pick a word out of a hat. One student draws a clue; others must try to guess. No gestures, letters, or numbers are allowed.
  17. Jeopardy. Students work in two teams. Each team gets five words and must create a question for which each word is the answer. The other team tries to answer the questions.
  18. Create some emotional investment by students by having small group discussions about the words in each bank. Have the students discuss which word is their favorite and which is their least favorite. Why? Which ones would they never use? Why?