Learning new words through active usage

Resource Info

Basic Information

Building up a wide vocabulary can be a laborious exercise for students, especially if there is little scope for its usage. One way to encourage learning of unfamiliar words is through active usage.

00 hours 40 mins

Here are a few activities that will help children learn new words and also understand their usage. 

  • To help children interact with each other in class
  • To help children to listen carefully
  • Children learn to use new words in their everyday conversations.
Activity Steps: 

It is easy enough to introduce new words into the students’ vocabulary, but very often it is difficult to teach effective usage. The following activity is designed to introduce a number of new words and at the same time to experientially understand and use them. It can be modified to suit all levels of students.

What you need: A collection of pictures of different objects, familiar as well as unfamiliar.

What to do: Allow each student to choose one of the objects. Give them a few minutes to think about how exactly they will describe it. They may use dictionaries or even ask the teacher for help.

When they are confident about describing their object, the pictures must be returned. Students should then pick up their object and walk around the room carrying it. When they meet another student the pair should stop and exchange objects, describing what it is that they are giving. For example:

Student 1: This is a small, intricately crafted sandalwood elephant. Its delicate filigree is the work of master craftsmen from Karnataka.

Student 2: This is an elaborately embroidered Pashmina shawl. Months of dedicated effort have gone into the weaving of this Kashmiri marvel.

Once they have exchanged objects the students have to remember what it is they are now carrying and its description. Again the process is repeated and they pass the object on. The next exchange of the second student would now work as follows:

Student 2: This is a small, intricately crafted sandalwood elephant. Its delicate filigree is the work of master craftsmen from Karnataka.

Student 3: This is a marble miniature of that unrivalled wonder of the world, the Taj Mahal. The minarets surrounding this one lean slightly outwards, as do those of the original.

This should go on for about 15-20 minutes which gives students time to make at least four exchanges. While this is going on, the teacher should display the pictures around the classroom Ask the students to look at the pictures to see how many of the objects they can find.  Students will enjoy looking at the objects they have handled and talked about.

This activity can be tried out with actual objects that students can bring to the class. If the objects are personally meaningful, the whole process becomes more interesting and worthwhile.

Students are likely to learn several new words, maybe the names of objects or new adjectives or adverbs. There is  interaction  with several members of the class and physical activity too. Students learn to listen carefully, for they must remember what they have heard.  By looking at the picture or object, the newly acquired words are further reinforced. Putting up the new and unfamiliar words on the board also helps the process.

This article first appeared in Teacher Plus, Issue No.74, September-October 2001 and has been adapted here with changes




rajanipandey's picture

Great activity and Iam going to try this today in my class for grade II during My space time.

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