I have been asking my students about their favorite celebrities lately-not because I want to keep up with Kim Kardashian or obsess over Kelly Osbourne, but because I’m trying to make vocabulary relevant to sixteen year olds. A colleague down the hall plays a vocabulary game where students get into groups and make up stories using the vocabulary words of the week. When I tried it with these parameters, my regular students were less than exhilarated. But I came back with the celebrity version, and it’s shining bright like the costumes on Dancing with the Stars.
Put the vocabulary words you want to review on the board along with a synonym next to the word for reference (so clueless students do not have to stare back at their vocab lists to remember the definition).
Have students get into groups of approximately 3-5 members. Have them introduce themselves to each other as their favorite celebrity (“Hi, I’m Cher!”, Hi, I’m George Clooney!” etc.). Explain to the group that they, as their celebrity, will be competing to see who is the best among their group.
Have students go in order of the words around the group, each talking about how awesome s/he is as said celebrity (“As Cher, the fact that I am still extant after 40 years of music means I’m the coolest of all of you.” “Well, being George Clooney, the only crime I’ve been implicated in is having too many hot, model girlfriends so I’m clearly the coolest…” etc). You can set a time limit of one to two minutes for Round One to keep them on their toes.
Once Round One has been completed (all 10+ of the words have been used by the group), erase the synonyms on the board so that students only have the vocabulary words left.
Students during Round Two must incorporate 2-3 of the words on the original list (you could insist they continue to go in the order of the list). S/he can also incorporate old vocabulary words in his/her speech. Give 30 seconds per person (including think time). The smoothest, most vocabulary-talking celebrity is the winner. For example, “As Cher, my music is still extant, and I’ve been implicated in the crime of loving Sonny too much as well as being reprehensible for my outrageous outfits…yes Lady Gaga, you got your lurid style from me so don’t try to call me insular or provincial.”
If you want to take the time, you could have the winners of each group compete against each other for a grand prize!
Enjoy learning more than if you had read the weekly tabloid by the time your Celebrity Vocab Throw-down is through!