Vocabulary Exchange

This is an interactive vocabulary activity is designed to help students discover and remember new words. Students get to choose their own vocabulary words and create their own definitions.

Many teachers find that their students furiously copy any new word they see without any regard to its usefulness, yet can not completely describe everyday objects. This activity aims at allowing students discover useful vocabulary that is of relevance to their immediate needs and situation.

You will find this activity is suitable for small, large and even very large groups. There is an intermediate and advanced level version.

Lesson Plan

Step One (intermediate) Divide class into groups of 5 and give each group a topic card. Tell the students to discuss the topic. During the discussion ask the student to make a short list of words they know in their native language but do not know in English that are related to the topic. The students are to choose 5 words from the list and use their dictionaries to find the English equivalent and its meaning. Students will then need to rewrite the definitions in their own words. Do not allow dictionary definitions. The students will also need to choose two members of their group to visit two other groups and become teachers.Step Two (intermediate)

Two students teachers from each group will go to two different groups and teach the vocabulary words that were chosen using the new definitions that were created. Do not allows students to use their dictionaries at this point. Group members must rely on the student teachers to define and explain the new vocabulary. Once they have taught their new vocabulary they return to their original group and find out what happened while they were gone. At the end of this step each group should have 15 new words.

Step Three (intermediate)

Each group will select one person to teach the 5 words their group chose to the class. Student teachers will need to check for understanding from the class and be prepared to provide further explanations as needed. Encourage the student to write the words on the board, draw pictures or use body language when teaching their words.

 Advanced Level Lesson Plan

Step One (advanced)

Students complete step one as described above. Each group will select one person to visit another group and become teachers.

Step Two (advanced)

One student from each group will go to one other group and teach the vocabulary words that were chosen. Group members need to be sure they completely understand the new words because they will be asked to teach these new words to the class in step three. Do not allow the use of dictionaries at this point. Once they have taught their new vocabulary they can return to their original group and find out what happened while they were gone. At the end of this step each group should have 10 new words.

Step Three (advanced)

Each group will select one person to teach the 5 words that were taught to them in step two. They will not be teaching their original 5 words. They will be teaching another groups words. Student teachers will need to check for understanding from the class and be prepared to provide further explanations as needed. Encourage the student to write the words on the board, draw pictures or use body language when teaching their words.

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