Vocabulary Activities:

How to Use the Vocabulary Word Bank Pages

The vocabulary word bank page can be really helpful because the words are used in various ways throughout the unit.

In Beginners 4 and up, the page is designed with words at the bottom separated from the pictures at the top so you can fold them under or cut them off. This pushes students to recall the words from memory, not just read them off the page. See this article on the research and benefits of spaced repetition.

In Beginners 4 and up, you can fold the bottom half of the page under (or cover the words with a book) so that students can practice saying the words while only looking at the pictures.

Familiarizing Students with the Words

Duration: 10-15 minutes

Type: Group

  1. Go through the words together as a class, getting students to write the number of each picture next to the corresponding word at the bottom.
  2. With each word, I recommend using a variation of I Say, We Say, You Say method.
  3. I say the word one time. The students then say it one time. I say it 3x. The students say it 3x. Next word.
  4. At the end of each row of words, I say all the words in that row. The students then say all of the words in that row 2-3x, until they are saying them easily.
  5. Don’t spend too much time explaining. Give a quick & dirty, accessible definition and move on. The majority of your time should be spent getting the students practicing the words. Usage is what will bring it home, not explanations.
  6. For a fun variation, have the students chant the words, or use TPR (total physical response), or sing it like an opera singer, or whatever puts the word on their lips many times over.

Other Recommended Vocabulary Activities

You can also find these activities on each unit page under the Activity Ideas Tab for each practice page.

Fun and Effective ESL Vocabulary Activity Text Data Sets
Fun and Engaging ESL Teaching Activity Picture Word Inductive Model
Fun and Effective ESL Vocabulary Activity Bananagrams
Fun and Effective ESL Vocabulary Activity Charades Race (600x600)
Fun and Effective ESL Vocabulary Activity Board Game (600x600)
Fun and Effective ESL Vocabulary Activity Favorite Flash Card Game (600x600)

Checking In Individually

Duration: 10-15 minutes

Type: Independent

Goal for the Vocabulary Page: Each student can say the words individually and without help while only looking at the pictures.

  1. Now that students have had a fair amount of practice with the words, you can set them the challenge of saying all of the words individually (with the words folded under, only looking at the pictures).
  2. Students can choose how they want to practice—by themselves, with a partner, on paper, or saying them quietly to themselves.
  3. When a student is ready, that student attempts to say all of the words to you while only looking at the pictures. If he or she can do it, you can sign or stamp at the bottom. If not, that student goes back to practice some more.

Note: Have a worksheet or activity ready for students who finish quickly so that they keep busy. You can also have stronger students help weaker students practice their words.

Note: If you have a lot of students or need time to coach weaker students yourself, you can have stronger students listen to students say their words and stamp their papers. This frees you up entirely to be a coach or a cheerleader.

Note on Beginners 1-3

In Beginners 1-3, the words are in the boxes with the pictures (see the example above). You don't need to worry about the students seeing the answers in these levels because they aren't usually able to read them very well anyways, and the space at the bottom is better used for short listening check-ins. 

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