Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Vocabulary Practice Tools

There's really no getting around the fact that mastering a language requires learning the vocabulary - lots of it.  And that requires practice, practice, and more practice.  So, a big part of my job is developing as many different ways as possible for getting my students to practice vocabulary.

I went in to school today for the first time since school ended in May.  I'm in a new room, so I spent time unpacking boxes and putting things in their new homes.  Here's a look at one of my cabinets which contains a lot of the tools in my vocabulary practice toolbox:

On the right hand side are white boards and dry erase markers.  I don't know quite why, but students are more willing to drill on vocabulary or grammar on white boards than paper.  I'll take whatever I can get, and we usually practice on white boards once or twice a unit.

We use Quizlet a lot, which has digital flashcards and vocabulary practice activities, but I will always have 1 or 2 students in a class who prefer low-tech, paper flashcards.  That's fine with me, and I keep a supply of index cards around for them.  (They're also useful for students who forget their digital device or have lost the privilege of using it that day.)

I also have letter tiles from old board games like Scrabble.  I really emphasize to students that they need to practice vocabulary actively.  They need to write, type, or otherwise form the words, rather than just looking at a list.  Letter tiles are another way for students to form words - I haven't used them that much but hope to do so more in the future.

On the bottom left shelf I have some letter stamps and ink pads.  I haven't used these yet, but I'd like to give students the option of stamping vocabulary words for practice.  I'd also like to give students the option of making a collage out of letters cut out of magazines, and I have the boxes on the left for storing cut-out letters. It might seem a little elementary school-ish, but I think at least some of my students would think it's fun.  Whatever it takes...

No comments:

Post a Comment