TeachersFirst's Vocabulary Development Resources

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This collection of reviewed tools and resources from TeachersFirst promotes vocabulary development and skills for students to improve and master daily vocabulary, subject matter terms, speech/language vocabulary, and ESL/ELL language. Some are tools for study and practice of terms in any class--including world languages, while others focus specifically on written and spoken English. Be sure to check "In the classroom" for ways each resource might help in your teaching area. Share your favorites on a free TeachersFirst public page for students and parents to use for vocabulary practice outside of class.

 

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Word Writer - BoomWriter

Grades
2 to 8
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Develop vocabulary through interactive activities with a 21st Century twist! This interactive offered by BoomWriter, reviewed here, offers an exciting...more
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Develop vocabulary through interactive activities with a 21st Century twist! This interactive offered by BoomWriter, reviewed here, offers an exciting vocabulary development application useful in all content areas. Choose specific words to incorporate into a writing project. Specify a word limit and list any other guidelines desired. You can create a story or sentences to submit. WordWriter then tracks the use of selected words and checks off each vocabulary word typed. After submission and approval of all writing projects, WordWriter offers the option for an anonymous peer review portion of the process and members vote for the piece they feel best uses the vocabulary. Another great feature of the program is vocabulary word crowdsourcing. You can see the most popular words for a particular grade added by other teachers from around the world!

tag(s): creative writing (169), digital storytelling (151), interactive stories (29), vocabulary (314), vocabulary development (120)

In the Classroom

Use this site to excite students as writers while still incorporating classroom goals of vocabulary development. Encourage students to read other students' writing for ideas about what makes a story interesting. Create a friendly competition within your grade level by starting a book and choosing a winner. Create new books in any content area and use for review throughout the year.

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Games to Learn English - Owen Dwyer

Grades
K to 8
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Games to Learn English is a collection of games for ESL/ELL students or any student learning the basics of English and/or reading. Created for students of English language learners,...more
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Games to Learn English is a collection of games for ESL/ELL students or any student learning the basics of English and/or reading. Created for students of English language learners, the many activities focus on developing vocabulary, comprehension, grammar, word order, and spelling skills. Choose from interactives such as Fast Hands and Concentration to begin. Each activity includes directions for play and scoring explanations, and most have playing speed options.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): game based learning (138), preK (284), sentences (49), sequencing (29), spelling (166), vocabulary (314), vocabulary development (120)

In the Classroom

Although created for English language learners, this is an excellent site to develop vocabulary (and computer skills) for younger students. It also helps with speech/language vocabulary development and grammar reinforcement for special ed. Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Complete the activities as a class with a student operating the board. Create a link on classroom computers and challenge students to increase their speed in completing games.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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TV411 - Vocabulary - Education Development Center, Inc.

Grades
4 to 12
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Find entertaining videos, web lessons, and downloads to support learning about dictionaries, thesaurus, and "How Words Work." Each video includes a short description of content and...more
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Find entertaining videos, web lessons, and downloads to support learning about dictionaries, thesaurus, and "How Words Work." Each video includes a short description of content and the skills addressed. Most videos are approximately three minutes long and include links to related web lessons and print downloads. This site was originally created for adult basic literacy students. However, many of these lessons could be useful with younger students learning the basics of vocabulary. Preview the video for appropriateness before sharing with younger students.

tag(s): antonyms (26), dictionaries (58), prefixes (16), reading comprehension (128), root words (13), spelling (166), suffixes (13), synonyms (35), thesaurus (23), vocabulary (314), vocabulary development (120), word study (78)

In the Classroom

Any vocabulary development unit needs to include lessons about how dictionaries and thesaurus' work. View videos on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) as part of your dictionary/word-study unit. Use on an as-needed basis to address classroom deficiencies in particular areas. Have students complete the web lessons on their own during computer center time. Create links to particular videos on your class website or blog for students to view at home. Check out the Teachers portion of the site to find activities for specific skills along with ideas for using the videos in the classroom. Challenge students to create a talking avatar using a photo or other image (legally permitted to be reproduced). The avatars can be used to provide suggestions on improving vocabulary and writing skills. Use a site such as Speechable, reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Word Root of the Day Archive - Membean - Ragav Satish, Brett Brunner, Micah Elliott

Grades
4 to 12
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Membean has root words galore! Find interactive flashcard-style information about individual roots. Click "Read more" at the bottom of each "card" to get an impressive display of information...more
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Membean has root words galore! Find interactive flashcard-style information about individual roots. Click "Read more" at the bottom of each "card" to get an impressive display of information for that root and lots of new words. See an interactive tree with words containing that root; when you click on the word the definition appears. There is also a short summary, a podcast (aka a "root cast"), and a "Memlet." A "Memlet" separates the parts of a word and describes how they combine to make meaning. Click on any word part, with a tree icon and a star, to see other words that use that root. You will also find related roots with similar meanings, and definitions of the word's affixes. Clicking on the question marks after the "memlet" offers a video about word parts and roots. Only some or the videos require Flash. This is a remarkably powerful and unique way to learn all about words.

tag(s): prefixes (16), root words (13), suffixes (13), vocabulary (314), vocabulary development (120), word study (78)

In the Classroom

Root words are at the heart of any vocabulary development unit, or should be! Project this vocabulary website using your classroom whiteboard and projector, and share one of the root words. Have a student demonstrate how to navigate the different types of media to help them understand and learn the root. To assign certain roots for study, post their distinct URLs on your website, blog, wiki, or bookmark on the classroom computers. Once you are on the page for one of the roots, you will see a link that says "See an example word page." Show your students this example word page and analyze the parts together. Then assign individuals or small groups to develop word pages for words based on the roots you are studying. An engaging, visual way for them to present their results would be to use Sharalike, reviewed here , or Zeetings, reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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The Write-n-ator! - New Hampshire Public Television

Grades
2 to 5
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View video clips about words and vocabulary. After completing the clip, try a related writing challenge. Clips and challenges are all related to writing, word recognition, and vocabulary...more
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View video clips about words and vocabulary. After completing the clip, try a related writing challenge. Clips and challenges are all related to writing, word recognition, and vocabulary development and feature titles such as "Favorite Word" and "Mr. Big's Plan." Standards are included. Clips can be replayed as necessary. View other responses to each challenge with the link above the submission form.

tag(s): antonyms (26), grammar (208), grammar review (41), synonyms (35), vocabulary development (120)

In the Classroom

Offer these challenges to your class using a projector or interactive whiteboard. Watch the video clip and create a class response to add to the challenge. Alternately, each student can take the challenge in a writing journal. These videos and challenges make for a writing warm up. There are 20 video clips and challenges. To demonstrate what students have learned from the site, have students or student groups create an online, interactive poster/infographic using Piktochart, reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Word Hippo - Wordhippo.com

Grades
2 to 12
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Word Hippo is a word study tool for synonyms, antonyms, and more. Look for rhyming words, opposites, translations to a variety of languages, plurals, definitions and uses for the word,...more
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Word Hippo is a word study tool for synonyms, antonyms, and more. Look for rhyming words, opposites, translations to a variety of languages, plurals, definitions and uses for the word, etc. The site also makes suggestions for other words in case you might have made a typo or do not know the spelling. As with any other reference, students should be cautioned to be sure these are accurate definitions needed for the context in which they are studying the words. You will want to spell out consequences and/or supervise to be sure students are not searching for inappropriate words, but the most egregious words of bad taste do not appear to be available for search at this site.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): antonyms (26), dictionaries (58), spelling (166), synonyms (35), vocabulary (314), vocabulary development (120), word study (78)

In the Classroom

Use this site for vocabulary development and word study assignments, such as writing sentences, paragraphs, or essays using new words. Since the site permits translation, this would be a valuable tool in world language classes, ESL/ELL classes, and more. Introduce this site on an interactive whiteboard and elicit examples to show the class how quickly it works. Have students create their own word walls with synonyms, antonyms, sentences, and more for their latest vocabulary words. Try a tool such as Padlet, reviewed here, for each student to create an online "wall" with words aligned to color coded stickies for synonyms. antonyms, etc. Alternatively, have students create class challenges for their peers with color coded matching activities for the interactive whiteboard matching words to synonyms, antonyms, and an appropriate fill in the blank sentence. Share this as a favorite on your teacher public page for handy reference any time students encounter an unknown word. Even subject area teachers such as science and social studies will find this tool handy for students with weaker vocabulary levels.

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Vocabulary.com - Vocabulary.com

Grades
7 to 12
3 Favorites 1  Comments
  
Vocabulary.com is an individualized vocabulary development program. Your students will select definitions for several vocabulary words. Based on their answers, the program will predict...more
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Vocabulary.com is an individualized vocabulary development program. Your students will select definitions for several vocabulary words. Based on their answers, the program will predict which vocabulary words they don't know and instruct them from there. You can also type in a word to learn the definition. With more than 40,000 questions to help your students learn new vocabulary, time will not be wasted here. The vocabulary is chosen based on words that need to be mastered for success in an academic or business environment. The program will analyze student achievement and review words that the students originally missed to make sure they are retaining the words. Vocabulary.com is for students from elementary school through graduate school. You can register with an email address or via your Facebook account. Note: as with any dictionary tool, there is content that is intended for more mature users, including matter of fact definitions of swear words. Teachers will want to manage this tool as any adult dictionary and have logical consequences for those who look up words so they can giggle, etc.

tag(s): game based learning (138), vocabulary (314), vocabulary development (120), word study (78)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a learning center or station for students who finish their work early. Be sure to mark the site on classroom computers, making it easier for students to navigate there. Or, if you have access to multiple classroom computers, you may want to start your language arts lessons with five to ten minutes of work on Vocabulary.com. Once students have learned this program they can be totally independent. This is one to list on your class website for students/parents to access at home for additional practice.

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david, TX, Grades: 9 - 12

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Knoword - Trevor Blades

Grades
5 to 12
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This "wordy" site offers word definitions with a challenge! You see the first letter of a word and its definition. You must quickly type in a word you think fits ...more
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This "wordy" site offers word definitions with a challenge! You see the first letter of a word and its definition. You must quickly type in a word you think fits the definition. The site allows you to pass if you do not know the word, but the definition of the word appears anyway (along with the answer). Once the correct word is entered, the definition changes quickly so you can accrue as many points as possible in a limited time. The site also keeps a list of words used at any interaction, so you can see the words correct and missed. Some definitions offer easier hints in their wording.

tag(s): game based learning (138), vocabulary (314), vocabulary development (120), word study (78)

In the Classroom

Try this activity at the start of class on your interactive whiteboard or projector; it's perfect for vocabulary development with a lively twist! Offer this site to your students who are trying to assess and/or improve their vocabulary for standardized tests such as the ACT or SAT. ESL/ELL students may also enjoy the challenges and additions to their vocabulary. Share this site on your class webpage or blog for students to access (and practice) at home.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Learning Chocolate - learningchocolate.com

Grades
K to 12
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This ESL/ELL vocabulary site has words and related pictures organized into over 100 categories. Example categories include animals, body, birds, Christmas, camping, phonic, days of...more
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This ESL/ELL vocabulary site has words and related pictures organized into over 100 categories. Example categories include animals, body, birds, Christmas, camping, phonic, days of the week, Europe, Fruit, Work Site Problems, Medical Jobs, and much more! Click on a category and you get common vocabulary as well as five review games for that category. Each word has sound, and many of the review activities are based on hearing the word to complete the required work. An added benefit to the site is that it is easy to switch the target language from English to three other languages: Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, and Spanish.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): chinese (49), japan (60), japanese (45), spanish (107), vocabulary (314)

In the Classroom

Save/bookmark this site on your classroom computers to serve as a vocabulary resource for ESL/ELL and also world language students. Introduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students explore this site independently or in small groups. Share this site with Chinese, Japanese and Spanish teachers as well as with special needs professionals for help with vocabulary development and articulation. You could also have students create their own narrations of photos (similar to this site) using a site such as Thinklink reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Speakit! - Google Chrome

Grades
1 to 12
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Speakit is an easy to install, free program that converts written text on web pages into spoken words within the Chrome web browser. At the time of this review, it ...more
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Speakit is an easy to install, free program that converts written text on web pages into spoken words within the Chrome web browser. At the time of this review, it works exclusively on Google Chrome. You can use this extension in many different languages. All you do is highlight the text, and it reads it aloud. The tool works only on website text, not documents, etc. This extension uses text to speech service and might not be accessible to those whose computers prevent download/installation of software. There are some errors in the program they are still fixing.

tag(s): listening (86), text to speech (18)

In the Classroom

Use Speakit as your teacher's helper. Be sure to test it out on classroom computers and devices before using it with students. During research or computer explorations, allow students to use this read aloud feature. Honor the students who heavily rely on hearing as their preferred form of comprehending material. In lower grades, research on computers now becomes an easier task. This extension is perfect for ESL/ELL or learning support students to help with vocabulary development, comprehension, fluency, and repetitions.

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Lexipedia (Beta) - Vantage Linguistics

Grades
2 to 12
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Lexipedia is "Where Words Have Meaning." Type in a word and see what happens! This site creates a web of related words. Each color represents a different part of speech ...more
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Lexipedia is "Where Words Have Meaning." Type in a word and see what happens! This site creates a web of related words. Each color represents a different part of speech or relationship to the original word - nouns, verbs, synonyms, antonyms and even fuzzynyms! Words become more than isolated strings of letters and part of a greater web of language.

tag(s): antonyms (26), dictionaries (58), mean (27), synonyms (35), vocabulary (314), vocabulary development (120)

In the Classroom

Explore this site on interactive whiteboard or projector to show students how to improve writing with descriptive words. Consider allowing students to share a favorite word of the day for 30 seconds on your interactive whiteboard at the start of class. Use this in a word study unit by covering up the original word.Students will then try to discover the word based on the word relationships found around the word. Build understanding of parts of speech through this tool every time you look up a word. Reinforce these concepts for visual learners continuously by using the same colors every time you highlight on your interactive whiteboard. World language teachers can also type in words to demonstrate and expand vocabulary in Spanish, French, German, Dutch, and Italian. Special ed teachers, especially those in speech/language will love this tool to help students SEE relationships between words. Encourage your language-delayed students to look up words and build "word sense" even when they are familiar with the word's meaning. Make this site available as a reference on classroom computers and on your class web page.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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VocabSushi - VocabSushi.com

Grades
8 to 12
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This site helps students learn higher level vocabulary, whether they want to simply improve reading ability or prepare for college entrance tests. Registration requires an email address....more
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This site helps students learn higher level vocabulary, whether they want to simply improve reading ability or prepare for college entrance tests. Registration requires an email address. Rather than using your personal or work email, create a free Gmail account to use for memberships. If you plan to have students register individually, you may want to create your own Gmail account with up to 20 subaccounts for each group of students (by code name or number) within your classes.If you plan to have students register individually, you may want to create your own Gmail account with up to 20 subaccounts for each group of students (by code name or number) within your classes. Here is a blog post that tells how to set up GMail subaccounts to use for any online membership service.

Once registered, students can select fitting vocabulary words to put into sentences. The sentences come from popular current newspapers. The site also has standard reading lists for the top test prep sites, including GRE, ISEE, SAT, and ACT. It keeps track of which of those words a student is working on and which he/she has learned. Students who master certain words will find new, more challenging words added to their work-on list. Besides seeing the words used in context, you can also hear the pronunciation of most words, thus making it a good tool for TOEFL test takers as well.

tag(s): test prep (94), vocabulary (314), vocabulary development (120)

In the Classroom

Save this site in your favorites on your classroom computers. List the link on your class website for students to use both in and out of the classroom. Have students work with a partner to explore this site and then create a podcast incorporating the new words that they learned. Use a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here).
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Word Safari: Vocabulary Expeditions - Ruth Pettis

Grades
7 to 12
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If you like words and challenging students with words, this is a great site. Part scavenger hunt, part word link source, you can use words from the "fresh tracks" as ...more
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If you like words and challenging students with words, this is a great site. Part scavenger hunt, part word link source, you can use words from the "fresh tracks" as a jumping off point. Links given to other word sites are helpful, too. You can click on a word to choose its definition. Choosing the right one gives many options for looking further into related words.

tag(s): vocabulary (314), vocabulary development (120)

In the Classroom

Using some of the given words as a "word-of-the-day" option is good. Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have pairs of students explore on their own. Why not have the groups create an online book sharing the words they discovered, using a tool such as Bookemon (reviewed here).

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TESL/TEFL/TESOL/ESL/EFL/ESOL Links - ITESLJ

Grades
1 to 12
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This compilation of sites is a standard source for ESL and ELL teachers and contains links to whatever type of vocabulary enrichment activity you might be looking for. Although this...more
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This compilation of sites is a standard source for ESL and ELL teachers and contains links to whatever type of vocabulary enrichment activity you might be looking for. Although this site is "plain vanilla" and not high-tech, it has been around for a long time and offers a comprehensive list of sites to use with ESL and ELL students. English/language arts teachers will also find the vocabulary development options helpful for any student, especially those who may need extra learning support.

Be sure to check out "What's New" for recent additions. Go to "Main Page" and try the search box; it's a good place to try to find the links you remember from awhile back but have lost track of.

tag(s): holidays (138), idioms (42), sight words (36), vocabulary (314)

In the Classroom

Provide this link on your class website. Use this site for vocabulary ideas with your ESL and ELL students AND in your world language classes or mainstream language arts classes. The variety at this site offers something for every classroom learning English or another language.

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Lingro - lingro.com

Grades
2 to 12
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This study tool and open content dictionary allows you to enter a web address (URL) and make all of the words on that page clickable for definitions and translation. A ...more
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This study tool and open content dictionary allows you to enter a web address (URL) and make all of the words on that page clickable for definitions and translation. A clicked word immediately displays its definition from the Lingro dictionary pages. The website looks visually the same within the Lingro window, but all words become clickable. You can also use Lingro to translate to and from English, Spanish, French, Italian, German, and Polish with more languages to be added. When students use the translation/definition tool, the site keeps a short-term record of their words and web pages, allowing them to study their own wordlists and to play games with these words. The wordlist and history feature only works short-term and at the SAME computer, unless you register, for free, to be able to take your personal history to any computer. With the translation capability, you can read websites in other languages. If you spell a word incorrectly, Lingro has a "best match" feature which finds likely definitions for your word of choice. There is also a tool to create electronic flash card type games from your saved wordlists.

Important technical note: Lingro cannot "see" words included in Flash interactives such as the "What's New" rotating content on the TeachersFirst home page. If you RIGHT click on an area of text and see "About Adobe Flash Player...," this means that the text is displayed in Flash and not "legible" to Lingro. Often pages offer a non-Flash version as an alternative.

tag(s): french (87), german (63), germany (26), italian (35), spanish (107), vocabulary (314), vocabulary development (120)

In the Classroom

When your ESL/ELL, learning support, or weaker readers do Internet research on sites above their independent reading level, have them open Lingro first and then enter the URL (web address) they wish to read. Use Lingro for vocabulary development in any subject. Mark this site as a favorite on your classroom computer or on your teacher web page so that ESL/ELL, world language students, or weaker readers can use the definition and translation feature and benefit from instantly-created word lists. If your school permits individual student accounts on web tools, this is a good one. If not, create a single teacher account to compile class word lists.

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Vocabulary: Applying Knowledge of Context Clues - Scholastic

Grades
9 to 12
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This vocabulary lesson focuses on the work of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. By introducing the lesson with an entrancing poster that gives lots of info about Marquez very painlessly, students...more
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This vocabulary lesson focuses on the work of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. By introducing the lesson with an entrancing poster that gives lots of info about Marquez very painlessly, students are intrigued to go further. As they begin to read a selection from Living to Tell the Tale , Marquez' autobiography, difficult words appear in red. Along the sides of the pages appear more intriguing questions and important information about the writer. After reading a short selection, students are given an exercise which tests their ability to use context clues. This website requires Adobe Acrobat. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): vocabulary (314), vocabulary development (120)

In the Classroom

This is a great way to get students interested in reading Marquez and also interested in reading biographies and autobiographies of great writers. Be sure to print out the poster and hang it where students can see it. Use your interactive whiteboard or projection screen to share this website with your students. Then, ask them to pick the quote from this short selection that means the most to them and have them explain why in a short writing exercise.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Magic Vocabulary - Viktor Gayol

Grades
K to 5
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
This online tool and vocabulary site creates up to thirteen games, puzzles, and worksheets from a word list the teacher inputs on the home page. The working database contains about...more
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This online tool and vocabulary site creates up to thirteen games, puzzles, and worksheets from a word list the teacher inputs on the home page. The working database contains about 2000 English singular words, but doesn't include abstract nouns. There are some ready-made activities already done for you as examples: body parts, Christmas, family, feelings, foods, and more. Typical activities include findaword, matching, multiple choice quizzes, memory, word scrambles, and labeling. There is a charge for subscription to the services, but users who recommend someone to this site receive a one-year subscription free. One caution: set the speed to "tortoise" on the "STOP" game. Even adults can't click the mouse fast enough above that speed!page. This site requires QuickTime to hear the audio. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox. .

tag(s): puzzles (204), vocabulary (314)

In the Classroom

Use this for a center with vocabulary review activities in any primary classroom or with speech and language or special ed students for vocabulary development. Using it in ESL classes will also be great, even on an interactive whiteboard with a small group. Students can also use the games on their own to practice vocabulary outside of class, so be sure to include the link on your teacher web page.

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Daily Buzz Word - Merriam Webster

Grades
6 to 12
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This is a just-for-fun site that actually helps to build vocabulary skills. Each day a new and challenging word is posted, along with information on what it means and how ...more
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This is a just-for-fun site that actually helps to build vocabulary skills. Each day a new and challenging word is posted, along with information on what it means and how to use it. You can even click on the "hear it" button to find out how it's pronounced. There's even a related "Word Whiz" quiz to test knowledge of etymology.

tag(s): vocabulary (314), word choice (27)

In the Classroom

Include this link on your teacher web page or share it on the your interactive whiteboard or screen as students enter class each day. During your unit on word roots and affixes, challenge students to find the root of today's word. Invite students to create their own personal vocabulary journal using this and other vocabulary tools found from TeachersFirst's vocabulary development listings. Maybe even create a class vocabulary wiki with individual or student group pages and allow students to creatively define and illustrate their new-found words.

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