I’m being doing much work in showing ELA teachers how they can improve their students’ vocabulary through technology. If students do not have a good vocabulary, then they will have difficulty in reading. I’ll give examples using PowerPoint although other technologies can work as well
Each day show a picture of different topical vocabulary such as various fruits and have the students identify the fruits orally or through writing. If you cannot find pictures on Google or Flickr, then check with your Foreign Language or ESL teacher. Another solution is to take your camera to places such as the grocery store.
Have students in pairs talk about an experience such as how horrible the cafeteria food is as they look at a projected cafeteria picture and then have them list all the descriptive words (adjectives) that they used to describe the food. Have them combine their lists with at least three other groups so each group has a bigger list; the bigger group will make sure that everyone understands each word, Then have the pairs describe another picture and use even more descriptive food words. This could become a vocabulary growth game. How many words did they originally use and how many words did they use the second time?
Play “which one of these doesn’t belong” by showing them a list of four vocabulary words such as book, magazine, movie, newspaper and have them explain why. By using PowerPoint slides, you can quickly go through numerous lists. Students can create their own lists within a given vocabulary category.
You may comment that there could be more than one answer such as to the “rose, tree, weed, plant” and I agree. As long as students can give a logical reason, then it’s OK. I prefer lists in which students can think of several possibilities since then they are always looking for other connections. I prefer divergent thinking instead of convergent thinking.
So how else do you improve students’ vocabulary by using technology?
© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007