'Word of the week' is a new video section on LearnEnglish Kids that aims to teach children vocabulary that they may not find in their English course book. The videos show children in the UK using words like ‘cheeky’, ‘chill’ and ‘fan’. The words are spoken individually and then the children show how the words are used in context by means of a short dialogue. Before you read on, have a look at the Word of the week videos here:
How can I use the Word of the week videos in class?
After watching a word of the week video you could drill the word and ask students to identify and underline the main stress (e.g. the stress is on the first syllable of ‘cheeky’). Have students use the word in context by practising the dialogue in the video. To do this you could build up the dialogue on the board as a class, asking students to feed in what they remember and then play the video again to check. Students can then practice the dialogue with you or in pairs.
Make your own word of the week dialogues using vocabulary that has come up in class. Pairs or small groups choose a new word that they think is useful and want to remember (maybe write up a couple of possible examples and then elicit some more to get them started). You may like to use dictionaries with older students to get them looking for a suitable definition for their word. With lower levels you could do this as a class and build up a dialogue to illustrate the meaning of the word on the board. With higher levels students can work in pairs to write their dialogues and then act them out. If your class like making videos you could also film students doing their versions of word of the week and then show the films to the class to revise vocabulary in future lessons.
Get your students to write to LearnEnglish Kids with their word of the week. A good place to do this is:
Children can also read (and respond to) the comments about English words sent in by other learners at the above link. Remember that you have to be a member to write in to the site but it’s very easy to do this – find out how here: http://learnenglishkids.britishcouncil.org/user/register
Do you encourage your learners to keep vocabulary records? You could tell your students to keep a few pages free at the back of their notebooks for this. Have students write new words here at the end of each class. Make sure they know how to pronounce each word and have them underline the main stress of multi-syllable words. They can write a translation if they like, or draw a picture of the word when appropriate. It’s a good idea for higher levels to include an example of the word in a sentence to give it context. There’s a vocabulary calendar to print out for students for each month of the year here: http://www.oup.com/elt/global/products/englishfile/
How do you practice and recycle new words with your students? You’ll find lots of fun way ways to recycle vocab in language games on Learn English Kids: http://learnenglishkids.britishcouncil.org/en/language-games. Click on the following links then scroll down to find the topic-based list of what’s available.
Word searches with clues: http://learnenglishkids.britishcouncil.org/en/language-games/wordsearch
A version of hangman with clues: http://learnenglishkids.britishcouncil.org/en/language-games/monkey-squash
Printable Flash cards: they can be found in the alphabetical list of activities in Practise your English. Scroll through the activities until you see a suitable set of flash cards: http://learnenglishkids.britishcouncil.org/en/practise-your-english
- Read this article to find ideas on using flash cards in class: http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/think/articles/using-flash-cards-young-learners
- Find out how to make your own flash cards in word here: http://www.computorcompanion.com/LPMArticle.asp?ID=289
- This site has a free printable flash card maker: http://www.kitzkikz.com/flashcards/
Low-tech vocabulary recycling
Back to the board: divide your students into two or three groups. One volunteer from each group sits in a chair with their back to the board, facing their group. Write a word on the board so that the volunteer can't see the word. The group have to give clues to their volunteer until he or she guesses the word first. The first one to guess the word gets a point for their team.
Shark: try a variation on hangman by drawing a shark in the sea with its mouth wide open and lots of teeth. Draw 10 steps going into the shark’s mouth. Indicate the word to be guessed with lines a la regular hangman. Each time a student says the wrong letter draw a stick man going down the steps. They lose (and get eaten by the shark!) if the stick men run out of steps.
Chinese whispers: put students in a circle. Whisper a word to the student on your left. He or she whispers the word to the person on their left and so on. The last person to hear the word has to write it on the board. Change places to give everyone a go.
Odd one out: write up four words on the board, one of which is the odd one out e.g. cheeky, happy, curly, nice. 'Curly' is the odd the out because it describes physical appearance and the others all describe character. Get your learners to make their own examples and test each other.
By Sally Trowbridge
When you have used some of these ideas, why not come back to this page and leave a comment below to tell us how your class went. We’d love to know if you have any additional ideas!
You can send feedback on anything you’ve used on LearnEnglish Kids here: http://learnenglishkids.britishcouncil.org/contact
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