At the start of the school year I ask my students to 'Adopt a word' and share it with the class.

Sameena Rizavi


  • I give my students templates with headings:
    Word Meaning Part of speech Example of usage
  • The students choose a word that they would like to adopt and do some research on it using the template above.
  • Each student then gives a short presentation on his or her adopted word until all the class has had a chance.
  • The words are then stuck to a large paper chart on the wall.
  • This activity carries on the entire year with students sharing more and more words.
  • In between we have quizzes about the new words. The students greatly enjoy contributing words, researching and presenting.


I would add a fifth box: register.  Students will need to check with their dictionary or a native speaker to see if it's standard or slang, formal or informal, polite or rude, common or archaic.  Context is very important.  Not all new vocabulary is created equal.

I’ve been practicing such task with my students for quite a long time now and it does the trick. Every time we meet I just tell them what part of speech the word should be and they are free to go. Sometimes I restrict the register as well. They really remember and use those words in their speech or papers, not only the ones they have chosen but also those picked up by other class mates.

I have used this kind of activity but for the groups of four or five students, they need to find the new words from the lesson, prepare a presentation about the vocabulary and then each member of the group will present these to their classmates. This activity is good because the students are really involved in the lessons, they actually do mini researches on the vocabulary and the teacher doesn't need to work hard, the teacher just give comments and discuss the vocabulary with students.

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