What is a word box?
It is class specific. You will need a different box for each class. During, or at the end of each class, someone needs to transfer each new item of vocabulary (word, collocation, phrase) onto a slip of paper and put it in the word box. You can either transfer the words yourself or ask a student to take responsibility for it.
Each word or phrase should have number of syllables, stress, phonemic transcription, and word class marked on one side of the paper. On the other you will need to write a definition, an example sentence and, if you’re teaching a monolingual class, a translation.
Why use a word box?
It’s an easy way to keep track of new words as they come up.
It’s a good way to model recording vocabulary items and deciding which items are most useful to include.
The exercises are a good way of modelling revision techniques.
It’s a great filler activity or a way to keep students busy when they finish a task ahead of the rest of the class.
How to use a word box?
Stories & Conversations – Divide the words between pairs or groups of students and ask them to create a story or role play using all the words given to them.
Circle game – Place a number of the word cards word side up in a circle. Give the group a dice and counters. The first student rolls the dice and gives the definition of the word they land on. If they are correct, the word card is turned over and remains definition side up. The next student rolls the dice. If a student lands on a card definition side up they must say the word described. When the students agree that they have learned a word, it can be removed from the box.
Charades – Teach students how to mime ‘number of syllables’, ‘part of speech’ and ‘sounds like’ before you start.
Pictionary – Maybe mark the number of letters in the word, or words in the phrase as they play.
Taboo, Hangman etc.
What you will need
A box for each class – A supply of paper squares – A good dictionary (for students to look up pronunciation/example sentences).