I’d like to add to what Teri said. I also like students to do what I call “cartoon vocabulary.” We discuss the word in context. Then the students fold their paper in half twice (once “hamburger bun” style and once “hotdog bun” style). This means that there are four panels on each side of the paper.

They write the definition of the word at the bottom of the square and draw a picture that helps them remember it’s meaning. It has to have meaning to THEM, not just a picture from the book.

We play a pair and share game where they have one minute to pair up and each must say the definition of a word in their own words and then demonstrate to their partner why they drew the picture they did to remember the word.

This has the added benefit of seeing how more successful students draw pictures to remember their words and to reinforce what we have done previously.  I notice that words done this way ARE remembered better. And yes, as Teri says, brain research bears this out. Memories are made in pictures, not letters and words. – Mrs. Prudent Classroom

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How do you teach vocabulary?  Email your ideas / instructional strategies to tips@road2teaching.com