- Make a grid like the one shown above, with these three categories: Go together, Opposites, and No relation.
- Pair up words in the first column (making sure you put a few "No relation" ones in there - having students recognize where there isn't a relationship is just as important as recognizing a relationship exists).
- Have students place each pair of words into a category by making a small "x" in one corner of their chosen category box.
- In their chosen box, have students write why the words go together/are opposite/don't have any relationship to each other. This step is crucial - the explanation reveals what thinking and learning is going on! This step is where some great formative assessment is to be had.
- Review the Word Pairs sheet as a class, making sure all students reveal what they chose and why they chose it. This can be done in small groups or as an entire class using a student response system of some kind.
- Have fantastic discussions around words and concepts as you discuss each pair of words, seeing what connections students have made.
The beauty of this activity is that pairs of words can often fall into both the "go together" and the "opposites" category, depending on what terms you pair up. I think this is a wonderful thing, because it encourages students to make their own connections and, if you review these as a class (which I hope you do!), they get to see other valid connections as well and compare it to their thinking.
Have any other favorite vocabulary strategies? Please feel free to share them!