It is news to no one that new vocabulary must be used and re-used before it is 'owned' by the learner.
So why not combine your class warm-up with a fun and painless vocabulary review?
#1 HANG MAN. -
Extension: Once the word is discovered, have students write a question using the word in a real, meaningful context. Give them a few moments to circulate and ask and answer questions of each other. Discuss as a class as necessary. This is very important in giving students the chance to use the vocabulary more personally and in meaningful contexts
#2 BOOM! -
You need :
- relevant vocabulary for review on the board or on slips of paper.
- a ball (or pencilcase or similar that can easily be tossed and caught.)
- Choose a "BOOM number" - 3 is a good one to start with.
- Students stand in a circle
- Toss the object from student to student randomly.
- Each person catching the object must count as they do so.
- Whenever they come to a multiple of the BOOM number, they must say "BOOM!" instead of the number, as follows, "1 - 2 - BOOM! - 4 - 5 - BOOM! - 7 - 8 - BOOM!"
- Whenever someone counts incorrectly or drops or misthrows the ball, they must take a slip of paper or choose a word from the board to make a question to ask of the group.
- repeat until all vocabulary is dealt with.
This activity has the advantage of not only reviewing important vocabulary, but also giving students practice in the important communication strategy of 'talking around' the words they lack by describing them with other words. For higher level students, having a good opportunity to painlessly and naturally practice relative clauses is a bonus extra.
Once again all you need are the words written on slips of paper.
Students can be placed in teams which have their members take it in turn to choose a word.
This they must describe until their teammates identifies the word.
For example, if the word were say PAINTING, the student might say, "It is thing you put on the wall. It is art. They have many of them in an art gallery..."
Points can be given to the teams if your class enjoys competition.
3 points for a word guessed correctly with the first students identification.
If the student is unsure of the meaning of the word, or if her teammates are unable to identify the meaning of the word, another team member can join her - but the team will only earn 2 points.
Of course, any point system can be varied according to what works with the group.
As discussed in a previous post all important incidental vocabulary that comes up during a class can be recorded in a margin of the board for this type of follow-up use in the next class.
It is important to tell students they will be 'tested' on the vocabulary in the coming class.
Their delight on discovering the 'testing' is all in good fun does not diminish the formation of a habit of taking careful note of new vocabulary by knowing that it will be important to them in the coming class.
If you have any ideas to add, I'd be delighted to hear them!
I find one of the most important things is to vary warm-ups so that your classes are never predicitable.