My students love music-they walk in to class with earphones in or t-shirts blazoned with their favorite bands. One day last week, I was reviewing vocabulary definitions at the end of class and asked what converge meant. One student shouted out, “come together” and another student, without hesitating, continued “right, now…over me…” –and then several students started humming the classic Beatles tune.
I had an epiphany then that students could make mnemonic connections to words and definitions by simply linking each words to a favorite relevant song. So, as the next day was Thursday-the day before our vocabulary quiz, I had the students create a quick playlist for the first ten vocabulary words we had learned that week. The result-an awesome vocabulary activity!
Many students immediately broke out their iPods and started shuffling through songs and tapping out beats. Some students instinctively got together to discuss lyrics, while others retreated to a world of their own. A few students struggled to come up with song titles, so I gave the caveat that they could create a song title using a vocabulary word, provided their was an innuendo in the title regarding the meaning.
By the end of about 15 minutes of work, most students had cobbled together a thoughtful selection of songs that connected in both obvious and more subtle ways. We shared out a few great song/word connections and discussed the overall significance of this vocabulary activity in helping students study.
In reviewing the quiz scores this week, this vocabulary activity really helped some students make specific connections and remember definitions to words. For other students, just having the conversation about the definition of the vocabulary word and what song would go with it was reinforcement enough. Ultimately, this vocabulary activity was a quick and fun way to encourage students to authentically review their vocabulary words and led to great vocabulary conversations and quiz results.