Monday, May 16, 2011

Vocabulary House

Purpose: This is an association activity and a memory aid that helps students retain new vocabulary.

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Materials: markers, large sheets of paper, such as newsprint, one per student, pencils

Preparation: Gather materials. Think about the floor plan that you intend to draw on the board as a model.


1. Each student draws the basic floor plan of a house where he or she has many memories. The rooms/yard/gardens should be empty (no furniture) and large enough to write plenty of words in the empty spaces. Students use pencils initially, then trace over the lines with markers.

Demonstrate this activity first by drawing a simple floor plan of your own present or childhood home on the board. Model putting words into certain rooms and talk about the associations you’ve made. For example: “I put the word ‘traffic’ in the kitchen because that is the busiest room in my house. Everyone always ends up in the kitchen! It is the center of our family life.”

2. Students select a new word, associate it with a place in the floor plan they drew, and write the word in that room. Everyone will have a different association.

3. After they have done this with several words, students tell each other, in pairs or small groups, why they put each word where they did. When students tell one another why they put each new word in a particular room, they learn a lot about each other.

4. Students keep their Vocabulary House, adding words to it and talking with classmates about it throughout the unit or class.

5. Charts could also be posted on the wall, creating a “neighborhood”, while students continue to add to them.

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