Vocabulary Drills with a TWIST

Tired of the same old same old — read, repeat, read, repeat — when it comes to drilling new vocabulary? More importantly, are your students tired of it? Try some of these variations, to spunk up your drills and get the students actually repeating the words.

Elementary schools:

Dino Danger – add a picture of a dinosaur to the mix of flash cards, have the kids line up on one side of the room. They say the word for each flash card until the “Dino” card pops up. At that time, yell, “DINO DANGER” and all the kids must race to the other side of the room, where the drill starts again

Clapping drills — have all the students clap in unison. You say a word to the beat and students repeat on the beat. Speed up and slow down for fun, add sentences for a challenge.

Funny voices – do mickey mouse or a whisper and try to get the students to mimic your voice

Junior High Schools:

This can be a pretty tough crowd and you don’t have as much wiggle room as in elementary schools. What I’ve found works the best are speed and rhythm. Try doing two drills where students repeat each word twice. Go a little slower so they can catch the pronunciation, but keep a good rhythm. On the second time speed up and keep to the faster rhythm. If you stand next to your JTE (who’s holding the vocab cards) use some nice gestures (either associated with the word or highlighting the card) to get some smiles from the students.

That’s it for now. Please post your best tips and tricks. We need to hear from you! Let us know what you do for teaching vocabulary quickly and so the students have fun. High school teachers, what do you do to teach vocabulary?

Elliott Hindman, Yamagata City