Vocabulary tools and ideas


In my classes at the Languages Center I use games such as Tic tac toe, Hangman, Burnt/Hot potato and Memory games.

Since the begining of classes the students paste in the walls their conferences with vocabulary per units from the coursebook; which are made individually, by pairs or by groups. The images are next to their meaning words in English, never in Spanish.

While I teach, the program I use has flashcards for each unit and I used them all, in a new class, during the lessons, and afterwards through review before tests.

Sometimes with specific topics I have students make their own flashcards and playing memory with a classmate once they finish drawing and writing the words. Sometimes we have a reward for the best designed and drawn flashcards and they will be all the school cycle in the classroom available to play with or hung on the walls as a reference.

If is possible to use the projector from the center, I bring the laptop and play videos according to the students ages and interests.of course, I plan exercises previously with Microsoft office Word or power point, so the students have to answer to some questions with True or False; Completion, order of sequences, opposites, etc, after watching the videos or complete story pictures or underline vocabulary and make sentences with these words they underlined.

-Ages 4 to 7:

Dora the explorer:

-Sesame street:

-Ages 8 to 11:

Sponge Bob Squarepants:

The Simpsons

-Ages 12 ahead

The fairly odd parents (Los Padrinos mágicos)

South Park (controlled parts)

And finally I ask the students about their favorite songs, we make a list, we vote and having a winner, one of the students bring the song photocopies for the whole class (in the languages center there are 5 to 15 students per classroom), and they know they won’t have to spend money on photocopies until all the other students had brought songs.

Once again if the projector is available, I look for that song, convert it into mp3 file, into FLV300p (good quality video) and if it’s online, the same video or at least the same song with subtitles in English.

With songs you can do alot of activities: look for verbs, adjectives; ask them to write which words they already know; ask them to translate the ones they don’t for homework; ask the class to listen and sing along or repeat afterwards, etc.
Most of the students I know love songs in any age, so I always keep them as a excellent tool.

Here’s an example of one popular song with subtitles on:

I get online to make crosswords, you give the words and the computer will make it for you; there’s a wide variety of these online crossword makers, you can even have they made with images; here’s a link:


and here’s a link for crosswords with pictures:


In any activity one does it’s important to find something that “clics” with the student in a familiar way, so they will retain the words.


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