Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Vocabulary Practice

           This is something I do with students who have to memorize a list of vocabulary words for an upcoming test.

            I put all the vocabulary words on cards, and put the cards face down on the table.  Students are put into groups of 3 or 4.  The first sentence will take a card and, keeping the word hidden, will describe the word on the card without using the word itself.  The other people in the group will compete to be the first person to guess the card, and whoever guesses first will get one point.  Then the person to the right of the original explainer becomes the new explainer, and the explainer becomes one of the guessers, and the game proceeds around the group clockwise.  (Obviously you want to use this with levels that are high enough to describe one English vocabulary word in terms of other English vocabulary words.)
            For difficult words, I run through this game several times, but start with several cheats.
            For example, during the first round:
            * The students can use their textbooks and dictionaries to help them either explain or guess
            * The explainer can tell the guessers the first letter of the word
            * The guessers have a cheat sheet on which all the words that will be appearing on the cards are listed.

            As you continue through different rounds, these cheats are gradually removed one by one.

            By the time you get to the last round, I find the students usually have a very good grasp of these words.

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