As students start to interact with text, they will encounter many words that will be totally unfamiliar to them. Dictionaries should not the first source for ELLs to run to when this happens. Instead, teachers need to find "out-of-box" imaginative classroom activities to support students in acquiring new vocabulary. These activities ideally should include something for each of the three learning styles (as the teacher in the video below does) since not all students learn the same way. Remember that ELLs are individuals first and ELLs second.
In this video, the kinesthetic, visual, and auditory learners are all actively engaged in finding the correct words to complete a list of analogies. The teacher places one word on the backs of eachstudent with POST-IT notes. Students have a sheet of incomplete analogies which they must complete by reading all the words on the backs of their classmates until they find the right match. At that time, they fill in the correct space on their activity sheet. In the process of doing this, they are discussing their choices with their fellow classmates.
When all learning styles can relate to the assignment, all benefit. Notice the amount of talking and reading that goes on in the activity. This is what ELLs need especially to build their speaking and listening skills in academic settings. As the listening and speaking skills grow so do the reading and writing skills.
One more note. This activity can be used for ANY content area and at almost any grade level. ELLs will benefit greatly from non-traditional approaches to teaching or reviewing vocabulary because they have classmates all around them to ask questions of as they try to complete the task. Anxiety is also low since the activity is also fun.
"KICK ME" -- FUN VOCABULARY ACTIVITY FOR ANY AGE OR CONTENT AREA
ELL TEACHER PROS