My colleague Valerie plays a game with her students that I like to call “Vocabulary Toss.” I adapted this simple vocabulary practice game to include two rounds, but the basics are the same-thanks Valerie!
VOCABULARY PRACTICE WITH VOCABULARY TOSS
Students stand in a circle and one tosses a ball/stuffed animal/rubber chicken to another while saying a vocabulary word from the list on the board or screen. The student catching the ball/stuffed animal/rubber chicken must either define the word or use it in a sentence. The game continues, students getting “out” if they cannot define or create a sentence with the vocabulary word.
1. Project or write the vocabulary words you want to review on a board or screen so that all students can see the words easily.
2. Split students into groups-preferably no more than 8 so that the action stays lively for all involved.
3. Give a member of each group a ball/stuffed animal/rubber chicken.
4. This student then tosses the object to another student while saying one of the listed vocabulary words aloud.
5. That student must correctly define or say a sentence with the stated vocabulary word in 10 seconds or less. If the student cannot, he or she must sit down as they are “out” until round two.
6. After about 5 minutes of play, when all or most of the vocabulary words have been used, stop the game and require all “out” students to stand back up.
7. Students must now toss the object while saying two vocabulary words, which the receiving student must use in a vocabulary sentence. For example, Steve tosses the ball to Sarah saying “recalcitrant and animosity.” Sarah must respond, “The recalcitrant student had great animosity people in positions of authority!” If Sarah cannot, she sits down.
Students enjoy the game more with a random assortment of objects. I have five different Beanie Baby varieties that get tossed around; Koosh balls are always a popular classroom favorite. Even the recalcitrant students tend to feel less animosity toward me when they get to toss around a fuzzy animal. Overall a fun way to practice vocabulary at the start or end a class.