Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Grab It Game - Learning New Vocabulary

I think every language teacher can say at one time or another....they have been in a situation where they didn't have a clue how to teach/practice vocabulary. How do we get the students to learn these words for easy recall?

With some vocab words , I have noticed it is hard to find a "theme" or "life experience" where you can  practice the words with real life experiences. For example...with teaching food...just have the students do a "Fake Cooking Show"....with learning clothes, do a "Fashion Show" I had a hard time thinking of what to do with "School Supply Vocabulary" I thought about loading different backpacks and having the kids describe verbally and in written form what was in each vocab....until I found an idea I like better.....

My awesome co-worker, Marie Stevens, suggested a game and I absolutely love it. Very easy to play:

1. Divide the class up into two even teams.
2. Assign a number to each team mate and make sure each person has an "opponent"...so someone is #1 on Team A and them someone is #1 on Team B, etc.
3. Lay out all the school supplies in the front of the room. I like to scatter them all out. 
4. Stand in the front and RANDOMLY call out the object in the target language and then a number.
5. Sit back and watch your students race to the front to grab the correct item.
6. Make the students say "lo/la tengo" or whatever "LOCK IN" word you want. This finalizes their decision.

Working out the kinks:
-Some students will not even try to make their way to the front so what I do is....as long as they attempt to walk up IF the other person gets the other wrong when they "lock-in" their answer....the point goes automatically to the other teammate....BUT ONLY...if they attempted to walk up and give it a try. 
-Lay down the law on the rules. Some students are going to push, shove, trip, etc. Be sure to explain the expectation, rules, and consequences before the game starts. 
-Allow students to "switch sides" to make it fair if you have one side of the room that is hard for students to travel.

The kids loved this game and it can be done with ANY objects you teach. You could even laminate big cards and hang them on the board if there is not a tangible object.

 Some of the items laid out. 

And some more....

This student thought it would be funny to pick up ALL the items and then say the "lock-in" word....nice try, Juan Jesus!