Below you will find some of the tools I use to ensure that each student has an opportunity to play a part in our student-driven vocabulary model. The powerpoint below is a draft from a bit ago. It is modified to suit my changing needs over the years.

Vocabulary Improvement Strategy Sheets (VISS)

Here are blank Vocabulary Improvement Strategy Sheets (VISS), sometimes referred to as CHARTS,  you have to populate with vocabulary list information every time we do vocabulary.

Vocabulary ARTIFACT Ideas

An artifact is something that you can easily create to show that you have worked with the words and definitions. An artifact should never require more than one night’s homework devotion (20 minutes MAX) as a rule. It should be simple to create and interactive once done.

Some examples of ways to study vocabulary include but are not limited to . . .

  • write a story with the words used properly and definitions in the story,
  • write a song with the words and definitions in it,
  • Create a crossword puzzle – definitions as clues, words in the puzzle
  • create a flip study book,
  • make flash cards,
  • create a memory game,
  • mirror memory (my favorite)
Mirror Memory – Imagine that  I’m testing you!!!
We would want to do this over the days leading up to the test. My daughter and I use this strategy as her vocabulary tests grow closer. She actually loves doing this. This can be used for every aspect that has to be learned – one aspect at a time. You could use this schedule:
  1. Monday (spelling), – Say the word, say the spelling, say the word
  2. Tuesday (part of speech & definitions), – Say the word, say the PoS & definition, say the word
  3. Wednesday (synonyms), – Say the word, say the synonym, say the word
  4. Thursday (all aspects), – Say the word, say everything, say the word
  5. Friday  (Bonus words) – Say the word, say the definition, say the word
Our lists are rather long, so we’ll only do half the list in one evening. This could take 30+ minutes for a 10 word list. Before we begin, we’ll go over each word: Pronunciation, part of speech, definition, sentences from the text. This is not the study/test session. This is review. When you are ready to be tested, we’ll follow these steps:
  1. I’ll sit in a nearby location so you can hear me. You sit or stand in front of a mirror. I’ll say something like, “OK, Joaquine (your name is Joaquine), ready?” Then I’ll  give you the first word “OK . . . . WORD#1.”
  2.  You watch yourself in the mirror as you
    1. say the word, (I’ll make sure you are pronouncing it properly),
    2. spell the word,
      1. IF you spell it right, you get to continue
      2. IF you spell it wrong. I alert you so you can try again. You will be allowed to try it twice.
        1. After the second attempt if you still get it wrong, I will LEAD as I say the word, (you follow), I SPELL the word (you follow).
        2. THEN you LEAD as you say the word (I follow/correct), you spell the word (I follow/correct).
        3. THEN I will slide that word back into the list to try again later after we’ve gone through all the words.
    3. We will do this for each word no more than twice
(4) That’s it!
OTHER ideas include:
  • create LINGO (TM) cards (with a Words & Definitions reference page),
  • create You’ve Been Sentenced (TM) cards (with Words & Definitions reference page),
  • create a crossword with the definitions as the clues (blank game and Answer Key required),
  • create a word search with the definitions as clues (blank game and Answer Key required),
  • create a JUMBLE, the list goes on, and on, and on.

Vocabulary Cartoons – You could make a set of these; one for each term or combine two on one cartoon! In this example, the cartoon is simple in terms of the fact that it is a drawing, and interactive in terms of the fact that it should prompt discussion between two or more people as to how it illustrates the definition for the term it’s for. Vocabulary Cartoons can take a lot of time. They could take longer than one night’s homework to create a full set. Don’t do these if you are detail-oriented and take a lot of time to do drawings.

The vocabulary test will most likely be on a FRIDAY of the second week unless otherwise posted.

Besides the PowerPoint above, I have used these other presentations in my classroom.

  • Context Clues PowerPoint with practice – Context CluesPPT- w Practice -a slide a day
  • Teach children or yourself how to break a word down to its core, prefixes and suffixes to get to the meaning without a dictionary. This works. DISSECT
  • This activity pushes a reader to identify the BIG IDEAS in a novel or short work. It can be fun. Reading to Writing Concept Maps
  • This presentation provides a brief introduction to a few strategies an individual could use to decode language and improve reading ability. Word Attack Strategies
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