Learning vocabulary words can be fun for elementary students. There are many ways to present the words and then follow through with games and projects. Students begin to learn vocabulary words long before they learn how to read so every game cannot be associated with reading and recognizing the word in print.
Riddle Me This – Kids love riddles and they encourage critical thinking skills. Let’s see how we could incorporate some riddles into our lesson plans and vocabulary skills. If we are learning about weather first we introduce the weather words. Then we make up riddles that we can do during circle time.
“I blow the clouds around and around, but you can’t see me, I can’t be found.”
“Sometimes I am big and fluffy and white and when rain is coming I am dark as night.”
Often times you can team together with another teacher who is teaching older students and they can come up with some great riddles.
Charades – You remember, it’s that party game your grandparents and parents played. You get a word and then you act it out and let others guess the word. Since you are the one who gives the student the word you can help and encourage the guessing game.
Pictionary – Draw the picture of the word.
Pick the right definition – You have three choices for definitions and the students pick the correct one. It’s fun with older students to allow them to submit phony definitions. I give them bonus points if they sound real enough to make it a challenge.
Word searches – While this doesn’t help with defining the word it does work on recognizing the word. It’s another memory tool and lots of students really enjoy word searches. They are only a good tool if you truly score them for the student. Remember to put a lot of closely spelled look alikes to challenge the students.
Crossword puzzles – Crossword puzzles are good because they work on the definition as well as the spelling. You can also do a crossword puzzle that emphasized using the word in the correct content. They don’t all need to be giant puzzles. Some times it is better to do 10 puzzles with 10 words than 1 puzzle with 100 words.
Silly Stories – Give the students a list of words and have them write a story using all the words. I use the title silly stories so there is no pressure to do a serious story. It can be fun.
Word of the Day – I love the word of the day. My kindergarten teacher started me on it and I was hooked.
Vocabulary doesn’t have to be boring. You can use words that have to due with physical education instead of science or reading. Explore all your options.