ESL TIPS: Flawless way to record and recap vocabulary

Are you one of those teachers who tries to recap and review vocab but either forgets, gets too bogged down with the next lesson, or just hasn’t worked out an organised system yet? Well, if so, then join the blooming club.

Feel like being lazy in class? How do you record vocab? Photo by Kool_skatkat

Feel like being lazy in class? How do you record vocab?
Photo by Kool_skatkat

I know how important revising vocabulary is on a regular basis, and I try, honestly I do, but sometimes I just forget and focus on what’s coming next, rather than going back to make sure my students really understand and remember what we did. I know students have to see, and even produce, a word at least 7 times before it stays in the English side of their brain. If we don’t go over the vocabulary again, then how can they improve, unless they study at home, and who really does?

I’m mainly talking about the new vocabulary that comes up in class randomly, you know, the more interesting stuff that either occurs to you, or real words that they want to say. I normally just write them up on the board in pen, sometimes with phonetics besides, and then hope a few of them, or at least one, writes it down on a piece of paper somewhere (which I normally find on the floor when they’ve left).

The other week, just by chance because I was feeling a bit lazy and didn’t want to get up and write, I started to type out the vocabulary on the board instead of writing it. The topic was weather and I asked a group of 10 years olds to brainstorm all the words they knew connected with weather. As we went round the class, each telling me one word from their list, I typed it up, making sure they understood it, first in English then checking in Spanish. By the end of the five minutes they all had a massive list, and so did I, which I saved (I use ebeam, but you could easily do this on word or powerpoint). So I was able to record it and use it again next class to revise the vocabulary.

I did the same with another class of the same level and compared their list to the previous classes’ list to see who had the most original and creative words.

Now I try to type up a lot of vocabulary that comes up in class. Not because I’m being lazy, but to be able to recap and revise when I want. I can use the lists over and over again and it’s great for warmers and the last couple of minutes in class.

Just a simple method which I wished I’d thought of before. Hopefully this can help you. What do you do to recap vocabulary? Have you got a decent system to share?

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