Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Word Power Wednesday: Vocabulary Games

As teachers, we know that vocabulary is critical to reading comprehension. It plays an important role in learning to read as well as reading to learn. To ensure academic success, young readers must develop a wide base of word knowledge and the ability to learn how to acquire new words.  So, how do we foster vocabulary development?    

This week we'll explore a a few of my favorite ways to engage students in vocabulary word play.  

For many of the games listed below you will need a deck of vocabulary cards.  To make them, simply write each vocabulary word on an index card.  

1.  CharadesDivide class into four teams.  Each team sits together and is given a white board to record answers.  One student is chosen to act out a word for the class.  The student selects a vocabulary card from the deck (mentioned above) and begins to silently act out the word.  The first team to display the correct answer on their white board earns a point.  Another student is chosen to act out a word and play resumes.  The team with the highest score wins.  

This drawing illustrates the word, "exchange".
2.  Pictionary - Played like charades except the person illustrates the vocabulary word (on chart paper or white board easel) rather than acting it out.  

3.  I Have...Who has... - This is a wrap-around activity.  You can create your own game by using this {template maker}.  Begin by filling in the blanks on the ‘I Have Who Has’ template with your vocabulary words and definitions. The last card you fill out must have the question that matches the answer on the first card, thus completing the loop.

Hand out a card to each student. Some students may need to have two cards.  It is important to use all the cards in a set.

Choose a student to go first, and have him read the card aloud. This card will give a definition and ask for the matching vocabulary word.  For example, "Who has a word that means able to be seen?"  

The student who has the card with the matching vocabulary word then reads that answer aloud, “I have visible”. This student will then read the question at the bottom of his card, "Who has ___?" The student with the matching card responds.  Play continues until all of the cards have been played.  

Every card in the set is connected to a card before it and a card after it. Therefore, the game will end with the same student who started.

Just bought these Fly Swatters at Wal*Mart for $1.  :)
4.  Splat! (also known as Fly Swatter) - For this game two fly swatters are needed.  I have a variety of fancy ones from the dollar store and Wal*Mart.  Tape each of the word cards from the deck (mentioned earlier) onto your large whiteboard or chalkboard in a random, scattered formation.  Students are divided into two teams.  One member from each team comes forward, fly swatter in hand, to play.  The teacher gives the definition of a vocabulary word.  The first person to swat that word card earns a point for their team.  The team with the highest score wins.  

I remember watching this game as a child.
(Circa 1973-1988 with Dick Clark)
Students write their answers on a white board so
that the other team does not hear their responses.
5.  $100,000 PyramidThis game is a simpler version of the old game on TV called the 100,000 Pyramid.  Divide the class into two teams.  Each team needs 2 chairs; one faces the class and the other faces the chalkboard. (For this game two students from each team are paired up.)  The teacher gives the students facing the board a word. They must describe the word (without using the word) to their teammate.  For example, if the word is bus they student might describe it by saying, "It's long and yellow, kids ride to school in it."  The first team to guess the correct answer earns a point for their team.  Two new team members take the 'hot-seats" and play resumes.  The team with the highest score wins. 

6.  Blurt! - This is a great small group game.  One student draws a vocabulary word card and begins to define/explain/give examples of the word.  The first student in the group to blurt out the correct vocabulary word earns the card.  Each member of the group takes a turn presenting a word.  Play continues until time is called by the teacher.  The player with the most cards wins.

Click on the picture to visit Pam's store.
7.  Question Cube - I found this great question cube activity from Pam at Teaching by the Sea.  You can see her students in action playing the game {here}.  This is a super partner review game.  The vocabulary notebooks her students use are great too!

8.  Memory - This is a quiet game for 2-4 players.  One set of vocabulary cards and one set of definition cards are needed.  The cards are shuffled and arranged face down.  Students take turns flipping two cards up.  If the word and definition match, the student keeps the cards and takes another turn.  If the cards are not a match, they are returned face down. The next player takes a turn. Play continues until all cards are matched or time is called.  The student with the most matches wins.

9.  Chalk Talk - This game is a favorite of my students.  However, it may need renamed since we no longer use chalk boards.  ;)
Divide the class into four teams.  Divide the whiteboard into four sections. One student from each team goes to the board.  

In Round 1, the teacher calls out the definition of a vocabulary word and students write the word on the board.  Each team with the correct answer gets a point.  (Optional bonus points: Each team with the correct spelling of the word gets a bonus point.  The first team write the correct answer gets an additional bonus point.)

In Round 2, the teacher says the vocabulary word and students must define it.  Each team with the correct answer gets a point.  (Optional bonus points: The team with the most complete definition gets a bonus point.  The first team a correct answer gets an additional bonus point.) 

10.  Bingo - To prepare for this activity you will need blank bingo boards and a deck of word cards.  Tape the vocabulary word cards to the white board or place them in a pocket chart.  Students write the word on the bingo spaces of their bingo cards (in random order).  The teacher calls out vocabulary definitions and students put a marker over the word if it appears on their card.  Play continues until someone has five in a row. Click on the Bingo card to download this freebie.  :)

There are so many other vocabulary games that students enjoy playing. What are some of your favorites?  

1 comment:

  1. Wendy, Thanks so much for mentioning my Vocabulary Cube! What a nice surprise. I have spent about an hour reading through your Vocabulary posts! Such great information. I think I am going to go to Kindergarten next year (I can't wait!) so many of these activities will fit in perfectly. I love the cube game... where they put a cube for each word. Mine could do that for the sounds in a word and then trace the word. Love everything! I am your newest follower on BlogLovin! I also signed up for the emailed posts so I won't miss a thing! Thanks, Pam

    Visit me at Teaching By The Sea!