Monday, March 21, 2011

Communicate Effectively - Vocabulary Builder

One of my favorite vocabulary building exercises is a combination of Password, Taboo, Pictionary and Guesstures.

I  divide my class in to five or six teams of 4 to 5 players each. I pre-prepare 30-36 vocabulary cards.

Each player takes a turn on the Hot Seat, I hold a vocabulary term up behind their head for their teammates to see. The team must get the individual to say the vocabulary word in less than a minute.  Guidelines include, they can not use any form of the word.  They can not mime the word.  They may not use clues that spell the word nor use rhyming.  Students are encouraged  to use terminology from the text, lecture, SMART presentations in order to get the individual to say the word.  Each team completes two rounds using verbal clues.

In round two, students use white boards and dry erase markers to draw clues to get students to say the term.
Students may not use letters or numbers in their clues.  The teams have two minutes for this round.  This provides time for students to decide what to draw and who should do the drawing.

In the third round, students cannot use words or pictures, they must act out or mime the clues to get the student to say the word. The teams have two minutes for this round.  This provides time for students to decide how to act out the term and who will do the acting. 

I find this method of reviewing gets students actively involved in processing their vocabulary. 
The process includes getting students to think about how to communicate clearly and succinctly to accomplish a goal.  I also find that it helps to make students students utilize a variety of communicative methods and forces them to think critically about how best to communicate their ideas.

I have yet to have a class that did not become fully engaged in the game and typically they want to continue even after we have completed all of the terms.  But, I always try to leave them wanting more as it keeps the game fresh and they are more apt to be engaged the next time I use this methodology.

"Talking and eloquence are not the same: to speak and to speak well are two things.
A fool may talk, but a wise man speaks. "
                                                                                   Heinrich Heine -

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