29 March 2008

Vocabulary to Go

Yeah, I know. It's getting toward the final throes of the school year and the idea of "new strategies" has lost its charm. But perhaps something new will be the smelling salts your students and you need to stay focused on learning awhile longer. If not, just tuck these jewels away until next year. :)

The first one is a game I picked up at an NSTA convention several years ago. I can't remember who to credit, but if you recognize the source, let me know and I'll be happy to add in the information. Anyway, start with a list of vocabulary terms and definitions. Write them (or cut and paste them) onto index cards. On one side of the card will be a term and on the back side of the card will be the definition of the next term (not the term on the front). I know this doesn't make sense right now, but the pix below will help illustrate. It's very important to know the order ahead of time. What I do is create a table in Word with the terms on one column and the definitions in the other. After I print these, I make sure to cut out each column in the same order (e.g. top to bottom). Once the pages have been cut, I take the vocabulary term on the top of the pile and move it to the bottom. Voila!

Okay, so here is the front and back of one card:













I had about 15 cards for this particular review. Two or three students would play the game. Cards are dealt with the term face up. One card is selected for the start of play and is turned over in the middle of the playing space.


Students then search their "hands" of cards to find the matching term. When one thinks s/he has it, the card is placed on top of the first card, with the next definition showing.


Play continues in this manner...


If students have correctly matched terms and definitions, the term on bottom of the completed deck should match the definition at the top of the deck. Kids really do like this game.

Here's another, stolen from the Dana Center at the University of Texas at Austin. As the teacher, you would precut the sheet into 9 cards. Then, students are asked to reassemble the puzzle. The pieces fit together to match a term with a definition or a term with an example. You can use this as a springboard activity to do some Frayer Models with students or other work which will deepen their knowledge.

Have you tried something new this year? If you're willing to share, leave your ideas in the comments.

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