As dual language teachers, we know that vocabulary is a vital part of education and it is considered a core subject.
There are two methods to teach vocabulary: through games and formal drill and practice. Well, drill and practice activities are not considered "fun" and students do not internalize knowledge (new words and their definitions). As a result, they just memorize the vocabulary or spelling for the test and then they forget these words the next day.
When students play vocabulary games, they learn new words faster, they use them daily, and they have FUN!
In this regard, a variety of content-supporting interactive vocabulary games are necessary in all classrooms (not only bilingual, dual-language or ESL classrooms).
So, what games are effective?
Here are games that are easy to set up and they are my students' favorite!
1. The Fly Swatter Game
• Write the target vocabulary on the board.
• Divide class into teams of 4 or 5.
• Teams stand in line behind starting line (5-8ft. back).
• When the teacher calls out a definition, first one to swat an answer gets a point.
• After the first round , the swatter is handed to next the person.
• The first team to get predetermined amount of points is the winner!
2. Blackboard Spin the Bottle
word list and definitions
• Write 5 vocabulary words on the board, place one student under each word. These students are the "bottles."
• Students at their seats "spin the bottles" by calling out a definition.
• When a "bottle" hears his definition, he spins around once.
• If the student fails to spin, when his definition is called, he must give someone else his place at the board.
3. I Have... Who has?
Index cards with words and definitions
• The whole class can play this after studying vocabulary of a lesson or chapter.
• Write the vocabulary words and definitions on cards and mix them up.
• Each student is given one word and a different definition.
• The first student asks, "Who has_____ (and reads definition)?
• The student who has the word says,"I have______(and reads the definition)."
• Continue to play in this manner. Go around the room.
Do you play vocabulary games that are fun for your students?
We would love to hear from you!