How Many Words Do You Need To Know Site Language-Learners.Org Accelerate Your Language Learning: Create Your Own Vocabulary Building Activities Part 1

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Accelerate Your Language Learning: Create Your Own Vocabulary Building Activities Part 1

When EFL, ESL or foreign language English learners ask you, “Teacher, what can I do to learn more words faster?” Here is an answer that will serve you and them well. Create your own TEFL vocabulary, games, activities and puzzles to boost your vocabulary in record time. Don’t know how to do it? Here are some suggestions:

Complete the Chart

First complete a food chart under categories such as:

• Fruits

• Vegetables

• Meat and Protein

• Fish and seafood

• Dairy products

• Cereals and starches

You can use a dictionary, talk with classmates or friends, look at pictures, etc. everything you can to get the biggest list you can as quickly as possible. When you have a good “stash” of vocabulary, strengthen it by using it in other activities such as those that follow.

Create a Word-Find puzzle

Make a grid of 15 spaces by 15 spaces on a sheet of letter paper. You can use a computer or manually draw one. Leave space at the top of the page for a title and other data. There should be an even larger space at the bottom of the sheet. This will be the space for your word list. Now, using any of the words from your chart, make a list of about 25 to 30 words at the bottom of your puzzle page. Then, fill in the blanks in the grid with these words. Horizontally, vertically, diagonally, even backwards will make you use up as many spaces as you can.

If you use this exercise in a class, students exchange papers to solve each other’s puzzles. They can also check for errors, omissions and missing words or letters. Use peer correction to its fullest.

Categories to be used

Word lists are created with relevant topics from the class. Examples of “evergreen” themes that can be used repeatedly include:

• Stuff and colors

• Occupations – Jobs

• Food and food categories

• Body parts

• Furniture and Rooms of the House

• Animals and Pets

• City in your state or country

• Cities and Countries of the world

• Famous – People and Historic Places

• Verbs (Regular or Irregular)

• Music (artists, types of, instruments, etc.)

The list of possibilities is practically endless. You can also use these same categories and word lists in other types of exercises that come in Part 2 of this series.

Three of my favorite puzzle creation programs are available online:

• The Puzzle Maker website http://www.puzzlemaker.com is the simplest and easiest of the trio of puzzle creation programs. It will also allow you to create word puzzles and other types of puzzles. It is available for free online, can be learned in a few minutes and does not require any download or prior knowledge.

• The Hot Potato website for creating puzzles [http://web.uvis.ca/hrd/halfbaked/] it is quite simple to manage, although it is more complex than Puzzle Maker. A demo version is available for free online, with the full version only requiring free registration if you’re in the US.

If you like bright colors, are an artist who paints, draws, cartoons, creates or crafts, then your brain is highly developed in the visual – spatial area. Do puzzles increase and stimulate your brain? So visit this website for more information and to try your hand at some visual-spatial activities. You can create or associate word lists to accompany each of the puzzles offered for free download at:

• Free puzzle downloads http://zone.msn.com/deluxegames/

We will continue in Part 2 of this series with more suggestions for developing English language vocabulary at the fastest possible pace for learning English as a foreign or second language. The same techniques apply exactly for the development of foreign language vocabulary. In the next section, we will focus on creating specialized puzzles such as crossword puzzles, using the same vocabulary list that you have already developed. See you in Part 2.

For Part 2 of this article go to: http://bettereflteacher.blogspot.com

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