One of my resolutions for this school year was to find new ways of consolidating vocabulary by creating opportunities for students to revise the words more often in class.
Sticky notes have become my number one ally for this, and I am actually using them more than I thought I would, and in multiple ways. Even the word “sticky note” itself denotes its usefulness. They are convenient and give place to loads of possible activities which involve very little preparation, if any at all. Simple and colourful.
So far this school year, they have been my most effective tool. Who could have guessed? My main objective was to introduce some technology to facilitate learning, but I have been struggling with most of it for the last couple of months.
Here are some of the activities I have done:
At the end of a lesson, I asked students to write down the words or phrases that they found interesting, weird, or the ones they feel would be difficult to remember, and afterwards, we posted them on our noticeboard. In the past, I had already done something similar, but would keep the pieces of paper in a kind of fishbowl or box.
After a few lessons, during which the words remained visible all the time, the students were given the notes at random and we played a defining game. All they needed was some time to think about the meaning and then go! On one occasion, I proposed it as a pairwork activity, but I also tried it as a class mingle activity “everyone askes everyone”, which was far more engaging.
2- Teacher’s Choice
The approach is similar to the activity above, but the choice of words is directed by the teacher, who restricts the selection in order to focus on one specific type of lexis and learn it in depth (collocations, phrasal verbs, prepositional phrases, adjectives, compound adjectives, etc).
3- The Word Cloud
Students wrote a word on a sticky note, and after a few days of having the words on the wall, I created a word cloud – I like tagxedo, but there are many others available. (The word cloud could even be done in class, provided you have the necessary online access. A group of students could be in charge of doing it and discuss the shape and colours) Once it was done, I shared it on our classroom blog, and twitter account and then proposed a revision game in class (wordsearches, or identifying negative and positive meaning).
These are just two simple activites that I have done, but I am looking forward to doing more and experimenting the different ways of using their colours or shapes. My idea is to increase exposure to these lexical items through games. But also by making learners have an active role at this revision stage, by helping each other remember and negotiate meaning.