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4 Ideas to help you make more of Subject Specific Vocabulary

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Building up learners understanding of subject specific vocabulary is a fundamental in helping them to really get to grips with any subject.

Here are 4 tips to help you embed useful subject specific vocabulary activities into your lessons.


1. Have students create their own glossary of terms which they can populate throughout the course of a module or term. Encourage/remind students to refer to the growing list of vocabulary and definitions in their book when answering questions or completing activities in class. This helps them build up their use of the right vocabulary throughout a module/course.


2. Start lessons with word scrambles based on recent key vocabulary you’ve covered in class. (try this free website to create word scrambles (CLICK) I find this a good way to help learners develop their spelling of key vocabulary as well as challenge them to think about the vocabulary we have been highlighting throughout a module. Some students might struggle more than others with these but to scaffold the activity you could have cards with clues on such as the starting and ending letters of some words .


3. Have students use a highlighter to highlight subject specific vocabulary each time they use them in their work. You could award points for most subject specific vocabulary used (correctly). Having learners highlight their use of subject specific vocabulary is a good way of visualising to learners and yourself how well they are using them. You could even use this as a peer assessment activity by asking learners to swap books and highlight correct use of key vocabulary in each others work – or even better to highlight where sentences can be improved by using subject specific vocabulary!

Explain it!

4. Remember the game Taboo? Give students flash cards with subject specific vocabulary on them. Learners can then work in pairs to describe what is on the card without using the term or without using another set of words you define to make it more challenging. This is a great challenge and assessment tool that highlights who understands specific terminology and who needs to explore the terms further. You can scaffold this activity with some support cards or referring weaker learners to their own glossary to help them describe the term.


Let me know how you get on with these ideas in your classroom!


Happy teaching



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