Students are motivated by texts that interest them – and, unfortunately, these are not always the ones schools have available. This activity gives students a chance to use their personal interests to help them acquire new vocabulary.
Watch a short video below of the strategy being used in a co-taught, middle school social studies lesson.
- Write the following list on the board or an overhead transparency.
A sports magazine
A teen fashion magazine
A religious newspaper
A sales ad
A children’s dictionary
A school announcement
A poetry collection
An environmental/nature magazine
A health handbook
- After teaching a new vocabulary word and its meaning, tell the students that they are to imagine that they are reading an alternate text from the list. How might the word be defined and used in context in the alternate text? Provide one or more examples, such as: Word: Acid, In cookbook: “Do not add extra tomatoes to this recipe. Tomatoes are very acidic, and the acid may make the recipe sour or corrosive to your guests’ stomachs.”
- Allow students to work in pairs to choose an alternate text and define the word in context.
Call on students to share their definitions. As students listen, they will hear the vocabulary used and defined several times – great for retention (and no prep on your part!)