Vocabulary Activities

Created by:  Dana Jones, Academic Coach - Mableton Elementary
Email:   Dana.Jones@cobbk12.org

What does research tell us about vocabulary?

n*Vocabulary assists students in expanding their knowledge to raise achievement.
n*Vocabulary development increases when students have visual images of word meaning and when the words are categorized into groups. 
*In order to understand  spoken or written words a student must know 95% of the words.
n*The creation of labels is a tool for fostering new perceptions and increasing learning.
n*It takes a minimum of 15 encounters with a new word for a student to understand and apply
the word independently.  

What are effective vocabulary strategies for exemplary schools?

n --Awareness of words
n --Wide reading and extensive writing
n --Strategies for independently inferring word meanings from context
n --Direct instruction of vocabulary and vocabulary related skills  

How are words learned?

      1.  Connect to Prior Knowledge
*Vocabulary Anchors
*Picture Walk Word
*ABC Charts
*Give One!  Get One!
*Wordless Picture Books

2.  Share Metacognitive Strategies
*Fix-Up Strategies
*Teacher Think Alouds

3.  Active Engagement
*Snap and Clap
*Total Physical Response (TPR)
*Interview a word
*Multiple Meaning Word Toss

4.  Create a Word Rich Environment
*Word Walls
*Reading the Room
*Word Jars
*Word Books
*Vocabulary Rings

5.  Apply Strategies Across the Curriculum
*ABC Books
*Find and Photograph
*4-Part Fold-ables
*Circle Maps

6.  Teach Strategies for Independence
*Multiple Meaning Word Draw
*From Here to There (linear arrays)
*Vocabulary Cards
*Vocabulary Folders (by content)

7.  Mnemonics
*Acrostics and Acronyms
*Memory Paths


How are words taught?

Using Context
*Guess the Meaning
*Super Word Web
*4 Part Foldables
*Predictable/Probable Passages
*Word Detectives
*5 Box Word Analysis Matrix

Using Structure
*Making Words Activities
*Making Big Words
*Boggle Boards
*Word Sorts
*Prefix/Suffix boxes

Using Games
Using Websites
*Learning Vocabulary Can Be Fun
*Vocabulary Pinball
*Vocabulary Games
*Flash Hangman
*Little Animals Activity Center
*Internet Picture Dictionary
*Easy Vocabulary Quizzes
*Vocabulary Lists


Which graphic organizers/activities should I use to teach vocabulary?


The key to teaching vocabulary is....

Keep it personal.  Keep it active.  Be flexible.  Be strategic.


Word Walls

A word wall is a systematically organized collection of key words from a unit of study.  Usually a classroom contains a variety of word walls based on classroom needs (high frequency words, content words, etc.) and are interactive.  The word wall is integrated into daily literacy activities, skills, and strategies.  It provides ongoing support for a range of language learners. 

Keep Word Walls


nHighly Visible
rReferred to Often


Word Wall Guidelines

n--Word wall words should be cut according to their shape for grades K-3
n--Use large black letters on pastel backgrounds
n--Do not include too many words at one time
n--For grades K-1, begin the word wall with the names and photos of students
n--Do activities with the word wall each week, engaging all learners visually and kinesthetically.
n--Students should always be expected to spell and write the word wall words correctly during writing activities
Primary Intermediate
Clap, Chant, Write
Make Sentences
Be a Mind Reader/I Spy
Word Sorts
Flashlight Fun
Let's Cheer
10 Questions
Opposites Attract
What am I?
Word Sorts


Pictures from the walls and halls of Cheatham Hill

                                          Graphic Organizers for Vocabulary


                                        Word Wall Pictures


*Material adapted from a variety of sources including Dr. Max Thompson's Learning Focused Strategies and Cindy Riedl's Vocabulary Instruction:  A Learning Focused Model