Perfect Recipe for Vocabulary Recycling

Perfect Recipe for Vocabulary Recycling

Inspired by the British Council, we are going to show you how, with just the ingredients below, you can create some excellent vocabulary recycling exercises for your TEFL class.

Strips of card
Marker pen
Empty shoebox
Blu tak or something similar

Every time a new word occurs during lessons, simply write it on a strip of card and add it to the box.

In subsequent lessons you can revise these by having students simply pull one card at a time out of the box, then asking them to define the word or put it into a sentence.  And there you go, instant vocabulary revision, no cooking required!

Variations on the method
The beauty of the word cards in a shoebox idea is the variety of other fun options you have:

  • Sorting: When you have built up a number of cards, have groups of students sort them into lexical sets (group of words with the same form, function or topic) e.g. animals, or into nouns, verbs, adjectives etc. Give them a time limit to sort, and see if they can beat the time.
  • Vocabulary extensions: Take out a card. Put it on the board. g. to employ
    Ask students to identify the following in pairs:
    the noun of the word on the card (employment)
    the person who works (employee)
    the person who hires (employer)
    what you are if you don’t/can’t work (unemployed.)
    Other options for different words include: the opposite, the superlative/comparative/past/past participle
    Once done, you can add these vocabulary extensions to the back of the appropriate card. You have just created more options for further revision.
  • Definition matching game:
    Post words around the room randomly. Read out a definition and students have to race around the room to read the posted words, standing under the correct one when it is found. The first student to stand under the correct one is the winner.
  • Story writing race: Take 10 words out at random and stick them to the board. In pairs, see who can write a story incorporating them all. Award points for appropriate use, most imaginative story and quickest to finish. Students read them out at the end.
  • 20 questions; teacher vs student: The teacher pulls out a card.
    The class has 20 questions to guess what the word is. Encourage a variety of questions, such as: Where do you see this typically? If they guess within the 20 questions, the class wins. If not, the teacher wins.

These ideas take little preparation and are a super way to engage, recycle and extend your student’s vocabulary knowledge.

Who said revision needed to be boring. Enjoy…


Interested in how to teach English vocabulary?

View the Global English online TESOL courses which cover the teaching of lexis

  • Author: Louisa Walsh
  • Date: 02/12/2019

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Perfect Recipe for Vocabulary Recycling