If you want your students to learn words for the purpose of remembering them and actually using them in reading and writing, you need to make sure they engage with their vocabulary in unique and meaningful ways.
If you read my first post about brain-based vocabulary in the secondary classroom and are on a quest for more vocabulary activities to add to your teaching arsenal, I’ve got them. I like using continuums because they help students reflect on their understanding of the word, and they also give me a valuable quick check for understanding.
Instead of telling students the vocabulary words and providing the definitions, have students engage in critical thinking activities that lead them to the definition through inductive learning. One of my favorites is to project the words and definitions on the board in random order.
Then, I ask my students to guess which word they believe goes with which definition.
After this initial activity, I don’t tell students if they are correct or incorrect.
After your students have been introduced to their word lists and have spent some time interacting with the vocabulary, assign each student a different word (or words).
Students are each assigned a word, and they do their best to dress as that word.
After students “walk the runway,” the class can discuss all of the ways the outfits help them understand the word.
You can use pictures instead of objects if you prefer.
Ask students to walk around the room and take some notes regarding which words they think pair best with which objects or pictures. This one is always engaging and enjoyable – not to mention memorable.