You have a lot of lessons that need to fit into the school day but you also need to fit in classroom vocabulary activities. You look at your schedule but not sure where you could find time for them.
Classroom vocabulary activities don’t have to be these drawn-out fancy plans. You can sprinkle them throughout your day and they’re just as effective.
In this post, I share some ideas that can take as little or as much time as you’d like.
Vocabulary Word of the Day
A great classroom vocabulary activity is to build a huge list of vocabulary words. You can do this by doing a word of the day activity.
There are so many ways you can do this and your schedule and class will determine what works best. The most important part is choosing a word each day.
One way to find words is to research kid friendly “national days of” There’s a national day for everything now isn’t there? If it’s kid appropriate pick a word that fits that day.
Another way is to find words that match a holiday or celebration during the current season.
Merriam-Webster has a word of the day website. The site gives you the word of the day, a did you know section for some background knowledge and examples. Of course since we’re talking about elementary kids, not all word of the days on there would work. But it’s a great place to go if you’re stuck!
To keep track of each word of the day, you could have students keep a journal and each day they would record the word, the definition and a picture that shows what the word means.
Every once in a while, you could play vocabulary games to review the words you have learned so far. I talk about games later in this post.
Challenge the kids to use the word of the day throughout the school day and track how many times the word is used. This helps with retention of the meanings so they can use these words in their writing or conversations.
Vocabulary Activities Using Picture Books
Using picture books is an authentic way to introduce or review vocabulary words.
As I read a picture book I like to have students be on the lookout for words I have chosen from the book. When I come to one of those words, they say “ding” and we stop and discuss it.
Seems silly but the kids love it and they put extra effort into locating the vocabulary words.
When we discuss the words we don’t just talk about their meanings. I try and have the students explore examples of that word in everyday life.
For example, for the word tattered, we discuss something in their life that has been worn and used and is now tattered. Applying it to real life helps kids retain the meanings of the words.
You can check out more about how I use picture books to teach vocabulary in this post.
Vocabulary Websites for Independent Practice
Sometimes it’s important for kids to practice vocabulary independently.
Having them practice online is an easy low-prep way to assign independent vocabulary work. Vocabulary websites are also great for having kids practice at home if they have the tech.
Here are a couple of vocabulary websites I’ve used:
Vocabulary Spelling City is a website where you can input your own words and assign kids the word lists. They can play games using the assigned vocabulary words.
If you have a subscription to Flocabulary, it’s a fun way to learn vocabulary. Flocabulary integrates with Google Classroom so you can assign videos, word cards, read and respond, and quizzes. I love the lyric builder for my musical learners because they can build a song using the vocabulary words.
Vocabulary Word Games
Playing games is a fun way to review vocabulary words. I wrote a post about 3 games you can play using any word list. You can check that out HERE.
Another couple of games you should try are Pictionary and Skit.
To play Pictionary, divide kids into teams. Team one draws a picture that shows what the word means. Then the kids on that team guess which vocabulary word best describes the picture. If the players on that team are correct, they get a point!
To avoid the other teams from being unengaged, they are trying to guess the vocabulary word as well. After a certain amount of time, if the team whose turn it is, can’t guess the correct word, the other teams have a chance to guess what the picture is.
Another one of our favorite classroom vocabulary activities is creating skits. I like to group kids and assign them one or two of the vocabulary words.
The students create a skit that demonstrates what the vocabulary word means. They perform the skits for the rest of the class who has to guess what vocabulary word is being performed.
Did you find ideas for classroom vocabulary activities that you can sprinkle in throughout the day?