Simple Vocabulary Activities for ANY Word Study

I'm back from a two-day conference in Oklahoma where I got to meet and talk to so many amazing Kindergarten and 1st grade teachers.  It was definitely a busy two days, but so much fun!!  I absolutely love working with teachers!!!  

One of the sessions I presented was all about vocabulary.  I'm such a huge believer in intentional and explicit vocabulary instruction that not only focuses on academic vocabulary words, but Tier 2 vocabulary words, too.  It's so important for us as teachers to provide our kids with instruction that targets vocabulary retention.  Not only do we want our kids to know what words mean, but we want them to be able to apply what they learn as well.  Did you know that research suggests our kids need between 6-12 exposures to a word for it to become part of their working vocabulary?!  Fascinating!!!  

There are a couple of ways that I like to reinforce vocabulary in my classroom, so let's chat about that today.  These are really SIMPLE activities that can be used with pretty much ANY word you're studying.  

First let's talk about music.  Research has proven that are brains are hard-wired to connect music with long term memory.  It just makes sense to incorporate music into our learning!  I love to make up songs...ridiculously SIMPLE songs that don't require any creativity whatsoever.  You do not have to be Mozart to come up with your own tunes.  When reinforcing vocabulary words, I like to take the definition of the word and sing it to a familiar tune. Here's an example of a song I made up when we were studying winter animals.  One of our vocabulary words was "burrow".  I just incorporated the definition into the song and BAM!!!  A masterpiece...only notsomuch.  

You can use any word & definition with any familiar tune to create a catchy song that will not only enhance learning,but create a lasting memory, too.  Don't like making up songs?!  That's okay!  Release the control and let your kids make them up!!!  DIvide your kids into small collaborative groups and give each group a vocabulary word & definition.  They can collaborate on everything from the tune to the lyrics and everything in between,  What a great way to target those kids who learn best when they have the autonomy to be creative!

Now let's switch gears for a second.  Instead of reinforcing and assessing vocabulary knowledge in a paper/pencil format, engage your kids with a hands-on activity that they are sure to love!  I know mine sure did!!  This activity is great for both small and whole group and it can be done as a transitional activity or part of something bigger.  It's great for reinforcement and assessment.  I think sometimes we feel like ALL assessment has to be paper/pencil based, but it SO does NOT!!!  It can be done aloud  and various settings.  Need documentation?! Just take notes...or a video!

For this activity, place your vocabulary words in one container/bag and the prompts in another bag/container.  Call on one student to reach into the bags/containers and remove a vocabulary word and a prompt.  The student has to do what the prompt suggests using the vocabulary word they removed from the container.  Simple and easy.  Great way to reinforce learning and perfect for a quick assessment.  Always a class favorite and SO easy to incorporate into instruction!!!

What activities do you like to incorporate for vocabulary study?!

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1 comment:

  1. Cara!!!! I LOVED every moment of your vocabulary session at the Ohio Kindergarten Conference. I have implemented so many of your ideas and have been absolutely BLOWN AWAY at the impact that they have had for my students! THANK YOU so much for sharing your creative ideas. Seriously, you are the best. I just blogged about our vocabulary work!!! :)