Sunday, 26 January 2014

7 ways to expand vocabulary.

 Purpose: Making word wall encourages students to record new vocabulary, use a greater variety of words and revise words regularly.
Students create dictionary in back of exercise book.
Turn Italian writing book upside and open it from the back.  Fold/ rule of 2 columns (English and Italian) on each page.  If you have a bigger book, use last 26 pages in book.  If not, put 2-3 letters to a page, for example, A-C, D-F, G-I, J-M, N-P, Q-T, U-V, W-Z over 8 pages.
For example, a double page of 2 sets of 2 columns
l’ananas (m)
il delfino
la banana
l’elefante (m)
la foca
§  Group letters as you think appropriate.
§  Keep in mind that in an Italian-English dictionary there are only 21 letters used for most words.
§  Exceptions include: jeans, windsurfing, koala, xylophone and yoghurt from borrowed words.

Decorate a bulletin board as a literacy resource for your students.
Either use Italian flag colours (red, white and green), Italian soccer team (light blue) or theme colours (depends your theme may be sports, places, foods, hobbies etc).  A visually appealing board will create more interest. Decide whether you want student to create words as whole page tiles (in A4 or US letter etc) or cut strips in half length ways.  Ask students to write clearly for legibility but add some colour or draw a symbol to show meaning of the word.
For example,
punto   .
il punto interrogative ?
+ più
- meno
* per
il sorris:-)
or il sorriso
l@ chiocciol@

Students play Scattegories for verbs, nouns, and adjectives.
Based on the board game, students are given a category or theme and have a time limit to brainstorm known vocabulary.
·       You may vary the time limit according to the category difficulty. Start with 2 minutes.  Extend time if they have prior knowledge of topic.  Leave time shorter if you have to determine prior knowledge at the beginning of a new topic.
·       Decide your own scoring system. 1 point per word. ½ point if word are missing the article/not showing gender and number) Extra points if showing mixed gender and number options. i.e. la mela =1 , mela = 0.5,  la mela/le mele = 2.5 points
For example,
A-Z of fruits: l’ananas, la banana, la frutta, il limone, la mela etc.
Smaller themes such as time: lunedì, gennaio, il secondo, la settimana, l’anno
3 letter words beginning with B: la banana, il bambino, il bue, il buio etc.
Small words 3 letters or less: a, di, de, da, fa, ma, io, tu, lui, noi, te, me, dio, mio etc.
·       Option: students may use a dictionary, until they become more confident.  However, dictionary work will slow students while they look up and then copy vocabulary onto game sheet.

Teach with implicit teaching sentences:
changing to singular, plural, negative and affirmative across all topics and grammar rules.
Emphasis in the beginning will give students a strong foundation and allow using language confidently.
For example,
Simple sentence:
Il gatto beve il latte. (singular/affirmative)
I gatti bevono il latte. (plural/affirmative)
Il gatto non beve il latte. (singular/negative)
I gatti non bevono il latte. (singular/negative)

Brainstorm themes for prior knowledge: animals, colours, sports, food etc.
Students share all prior vocabulary and/or grammar that could relate before introducing additional vocabulary.  This activity encourages linking words between topics as opposed to pidgeon holing and separating vocabulary. Student may volunteer borrowed words into English such as Spaghetti.  Teacher may need to give articles from gender and number patterns to complete list as brainstorm.
For example,
Topic of Food
la pizza, la pasta, gli spaghetti, le lasagne
New words to try to predict:
il latte, l’acqua, il caffè, il pollo, il gelato, il zucchino
New words that are less likely to be guessed:
la bistecca, il panino, il pane, il pomodoro, la lattuga, il cetriolo, il sedano, la zuccca.

Introduce variety of texts for reader’s comprehension: news, sports, history are many topics easily available.
In newspaper, books and online, there are many authentic texts on many topics.  Perhaps your students are more interested in tv, movies or sports than reading about historical events in Italy.  If you can engage their attention, it will be halfway to learning a new topic.  It will halve the teaching load over constantly retuning them in to the topic even lesson.
Possible ideas:
l’uomo d’accaio – Man of steel (film)
Francesco Totti (in newspaper and online – soccer)
lo squalo ( movie – Jaws)
Italia’s got talent (TV)
Masterchef Italia (TV)
Mythbusters (TV)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TV)
Art Attack (TV)
A stimulus photo for students to build their colour vocabulary.

Students can start from basic colours:
from red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, black and white.

Extend colours by topic: Oympics medals, more unusual colours in paints (turquoise, sky blue etc.) Activites to expand colours: paint palette, paint by numbers, rainbows. Students draw a paint palette and label colours.  Students draw a symbol / picture of a new vocabulary word and make into a paint by number. Students can complete own or swap with a partner.  Extension activities include writing a descriptive sentence. More complex sentences can describe colours, as well as size, and shape.  Advanced students can include similies such as green as grass and blue as the sky.

What activities do you teach to build vocabulary?
Please comment on favourite activities and/or which ones you would like to try next.

How do expand on beginners' vocabulary?  Please comment with your favourite ideas :-)

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