As my students begin to put more words together, it gets easier to help them practice their vocabulary. Today, for example, I’ve been putting together some vocabulary word-picture puzzles to help students with their reading and vocabulary skills. First I prepared the cards, with the picture on top and the word on bottom, then I glued them to craft foam for easier handling. Once the glue dried, I cut the word away from the picture. Different cutting styles (zig-zag, wavy, blocky) and different colored foam (four words per color, because that’s how many fit onto a sheet) help make putting the words together a little easier. Best of all, it gives me a fun way to practice vocabulary with the whole class, in small groups, or individually. For whole-group learning, I put the pictures up on the board and give each student a word. I tell them what they word says (if they’re not reading yet) and they go to the board and try to match it to the correct picture.
In small groups, we practice sounding out each word and matching it to the correct picture. It’s a great way for students to see the relationship between letters, words, and things.
Advanced students who are already reading can play with the puzzles individually once they finish their worksheets, and the colors and designs are different enough that even students who aren’t reading yet could probably figure out which words go with which picture just from the shape. (Actually, I may have to make a second, harder set before too long….this one is probably too easy for the advanced students, or will be once they play with it a couple of times.)
I can also use the puzzles individually to work one-on-one with students who are struggling in vocabulary; I give them the word and say the name, and then have them match it to the correct picture. Once they’ve matched it, I have them repeat the word in English and in Spanish.
I’m really looking forward to playing – erm, I mean, working! working – with these in the classroom on Monday. And I think the kids are really going to enjoy them, too. (We had an old set from several years back, but it’s practically falling to pieces now, so we haven’t played with it this year.)