Using GAMES to Teach Vocabulary
(A Flipped Classroom Approach)  

Looking for a way to integrate weekly vocabulary words (WOW Words)?  Try this technique that focuses on students learning TWO critical vocabulary words per week by watching videos at home and incorporates engaging games twice a week to reinforce content. 

Here’s How I do it!

Step #1:  Provide students with Frayer Model for Vocabulary and TWO vocabulary words for the week.  Students write ONE word on the front and ONE word on the back.

The tasks on the worksheet can include:

1. Can you GUESS the meaning of the word using the context clues in the video?

2. Write the definition of the word.
3. Establish synonyms and antonyms for the word
4. Identify any ROOT words (Etymology)
5. Create a mnemonic or association to help YOU remember the word.
6. Write YOUR OWN sentence using the word and a context clue within your sentence.

Step #2:  Share a video for each vocabulary word via Google Classroom (or other host such as Schoology or Edmodo) for each vocabulary word.  The videos should contain the keyword, a definition, a sentence and example(s) of the word in action.

Step #3:  For HOMEWORK students view the video and complete the Frayer Model.

Example Videos:  


Step #4:  In class, discuss/share student work on the Frayer Model and then participate in a class game featuring the Word of the Day.

Vocabulary Class Game/Activity Examples

Vocabulary Bingo

Download here:

Students receive a blank BINGO card (see above). Students work with dictionaries and a thesaurus to identify as many words as possible that are related to Ecstatic. They write each word they find in the column it fits in based on the first letter.  Antagonistic (A) goes in the first column. Students need to attempt to find words that span the alphabet as some words will only fit in the A – E row, F – J row, etc. 

Play BINGO using an interactive spinner: that contains the letters A – Z.  I use this AZ AZ wheel that I made using

When a letter comes up, students may cross off ONE word that begins with that letter.  Continue until a student has a bingo.

Word Swat Game

How to play:
1. Select 2 teams
2. Team choose ‘swat’ the best word choice to fit the sentence or example.
3. First ‘swatter’ gets the point
4. Drag ‘fly’ to keep point tally

Example:    If the word your class is working on is LOQUACIOUS.

Read Keyword: Chatty

Swat choices:     Synonym      Antonym

Word Art
Word Hunt with Boggle Elimination

Give students 10 minutes to search Thesaurus with a partner to find as many related words to the keyword of the day.  Have them collect AS MANY WORDS on a looseleaf piece of paper as possible.  After time is called, choose a list and read each word.  If another team has the same word, BOTH teams cross the word off.  Continue.  When all words have been share (and many crossed off) the team that has the most words remaining that relate correctly to the key word of the day is the winning team.

Design a Super Hero

Provide each student with a blank piece of paper. Encourage them to design a superhero with the characteristics that match the WOW word of the week.

Example: Diligentman (Diligentwoman)

Students will draw an image of a super hero that is diligent and all of the items he/she has and characteristics they possess that represent the word diligent

Crowdsource a Google Slideshow
Allow students to creatively TAKE OVER one slide on a google slideshow to demonstrate images that represent a word. Share ONE slide show with ALL students and encourage them to contribute to the theme developing on each page.
Jenga Vocabulary

Use Jenga to help students become engaged with vocabulary.

More details here:

Acrostic Poems

Have STUDENTS Create Videos!!!

For the second half of the year, I put my students in charge of the vocabulary instruction by assigning each student a vocabulary word and challenging them to create a vocabulary video similar to the ones I’ve created that demonstrates the meaning of the word through action, dialog, stop motion, or any silly gimmick that provides enough context for someone to guess the meaning of the assigned vocabulary word.

It was AMAZING to me the excitement that this project generated in my classroom.

As the year goes on, instead of ‘teaching’ this select group of vocabulary words, I show each video to the class and they complete a Frayer Model style worksheet

No groans, no mumbling, no reticence…..eager students WANTING you to share vocabulary with them!!

Example Video:  

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