Listen to the podcast version by clicking the play button below.
Hey there, fellow teachers and multitasking superheroes!
Are you feeling the strain of juggling between being a fantastic English Language Arts teacher while also trying to be the best mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend, etc.? I hear you, and as always, I've got your back!
Today, let's explore some sneaky and fun ways to incorporate those all-important weekly vocabulary words into your writing lessons without making your job any harder. Trust me, it's possible!
We all know that writing is a vital skill, and vocabulary is its trusty sidekick. So, how can we seamlessly merge the two, spark creativity, and keep our students engaged? Let's dive in!
1. Vocabulary Story Time: Writing with Vocabulary Words
Who doesn't love a good story? Kick off your lesson by introducing the weekly vocabulary words within an exciting narrative. Create a tale where the words come alive, playing pivotal roles. Encourage students to incorporate these words into their own stories, making them the superheroes of their compositions! Level this tactic up with our free "Pass the Story" download where teams of students play a UNO-style team writing game with the weekly vocab words.
2. Vocabulary Charades:
Have a few minutes before the bell rings? Want to start the class with a hilarious warm-up? Let's add some physicality to the learning process! Turn vocabulary practice into a thrilling (and often hilarious) game of charades. Split the class into teams, assign a vocabulary word to each team by having them draw a word out of a hat (or whatever random container you grab in the classroom), and let the charades battle begin! Students act out the word without using any verbal cues, while their teammates guess. Not only does this activity reinforce vocabulary, but it also promotes teamwork and laughter! Add a quick reflection paragraph about why some were easier than others, or why they were able to correctly guess words during the game. This ticks off the boxes for critical thinking, reflection, diving deeper into vocabulary meanings, and determining body language!
3. Vocabulary Art Gallery:
Unleash your students' inner artists! Ask them to choose a weekly vocabulary word and create an art piece that visually represents its meaning. Allow them to experiment with colors, shapes, and symbols. Once the masterpieces are complete, host a class art gallery where students present their artwork and explain how it connects to the word. Voila! A creative blend of visual arts and vocabulary.
Level this up with our free "Pictionary Gallery Walk" activity by assigning the students a word secretly, having them create a representative image of the picture without words, and write their name and vocab word on the backside of their drawing. When the presentation day comes, have them hang them up around the room, number the images in order, and have kids walk around the room with their notebooks. Have them number their pages 1 to however many you have, and they walk around the room, writing down their best guess as to which word is represented in each image. Make it even more fun by turning it into a competition where the student who gets the most correct earns a little prize! For the writing tie-in, have them write a short reflection similar to the Vocab Charades activity.
4. Vocabulary Journaling:
Writing can be a personal and introspective journey. Introduce a vocabulary word or two at the beginning of the week and challenge students to incorporate it into their daily journal entries. Encourage them to explore the word's meaning and relate it to their own lives. This activity not only improves writing skills but also provides a safe space for self-reflection and introspection. If you know your students well, you can even tailor the words to each student based on what you feel they may connect with the most.
5. Vocabulary Slam Poetry:
Who said vocabulary can't be hip and cool? Tap into the rhythm and power of spoken word by organizing a vocabulary slam poetry session. Allow students to choose a vocabulary word and create a spoken word piece incorporating its definition and usage. Let their creativity flow as they deliver their powerful messages, all while boosting their vocabulary skills. Students could even sign up for a particular class day, and they'll present as the warm-up for the day! BONUS: You're actually incorporating speaking skills, too!
6. Vocabulary Interviews:
Time to become investigative journalists! Assign each student a vocabulary word and challenge them to conduct interviews with their peers, teachers, or even family members. The goal is to uncover instances where the word could be used in real-life situations. Students can present their findings in a mini-documentary format, complete with interviews and examples. It's a creative way to connect vocabulary to the world around us.
Remember, my fellow teachers, incorporating vocabulary words into your writing lessons doesn't have to feel like an extra burden. It's like adding sprinkles to ice cream: it's a small step that can add so much more flavor to their writing! By infusing creativity and fun into your teaching approach, you can create an enjoyable and enriching learning environment.
So, put on your super teacher cape, gather your weekly vocabulary words, and get ready to conquer the classroom with excitement and imagination. You've got this! And don't forget, being the best teacher and the best mother or wife is not about being perfect—it's about finding a balance that works for you. Take time for yourself, breathe, and remember that you're making a difference every day.
Until next time, keep inspiring and empowering those young minds with the magic of words!
Yours in Education,
Want some help with your weekly vocabulary lessons in order to meet standards, increase reading comprehension, increase student engagement, and reduce classroom behavior issues? Check out our Vocab Vigor membership for secondary ELA teachers just like you! To help you get started, I've made the first set completely free for all of my teacher friends. Just head over to http://www.newhorizonsacademyllc.com/free-vocab-lesson!