Pinterest came through yet again for me with a successful review technique! I saw a pin about 5 ways to make vocabulary more fun for students. It was a blog post by Kirsten Tulsian and you can read it HERE.
“Guess My Word” was my favorite method she described, though I modified it a bit to suit my classroom. Each student had a turn standing in front of the room with a vocabulary word written on the board behind them. The rest of the kids gave that student catch phrase type clues as to what the vocab word was and the student standing up had to guess the word. So for example, the one word on the board was “manuscript” and the clues the students gave were things like “monks made these,” “this is what people read out of,” “calligraphy was the type of font used,” “the printing press resulted in these being less needed,” etc. The clues could not be things like “sounds like…” We did this with two weeks worth of vocabulary for an extra memory challenge, again, I’m working with 5th-10th grade for this Music Theory class.
At one point the program director came in to the room to see what the kids were so enthusiastic about and she stayed for the rest of the activity. We finished before class was over and I was going to get a head start on the next topic but my kids were so enthusiastically asking me, “can we keep doing this, can we review with all our other words, can we keep playing” that I said yes, and we reviewed the previous unit’s vocabulary the same way.
I have a lot of those students in my Tuesday Geography class and when they asked “can we do this in Geography too” I said of course! I was thrilled that this was a review method they were so enthusiastic about. I think part of it was that they didn’t feel like they were doing work, and they were up and moving around. They of course made a few competitions out of it, like who could come up with the hardest clues, who could guess their word the fastest, etc, and that increased their level of engagement even more.
The fact that the kids were SO excited and SO engaged and WANTED to keep working with their vocabulary this way, and the fact that the director even commented on how neat this method was and that she was so happy to see the students so actively engaged in the lesson made me send a huge mental thank you to Kirsten Tulsian for pinning her blog post. If you are interested in some of my other popular ways to get and keep students engaged, you can read those blog posts HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE, and for strategies and other classroom use items, click HERE.