Vocabulary Mats

There are many ways to be creative when introducing new words to the children. I love finding new ways to introduce, practise and review vocabulary with my little ones. I began using vocabulary mats last year and I found them really useful.

What can you do with vocabulary mats?
These are some suggestions for the little ones
Point to the new words.
Listen and point.
Point and say.
Use bottle caps to show me the words you remember.
Show me your favourite word.
Use the  new words in sentences.
Clap your favourite word.
Use playdough to cover the words you remember.

If you are working with older kids they can
Find an animal that can fly.
Find 2 items of clothing.
Find 3 veggies.
Find a compound word.
Find a word that has…letters.
Find a word that sounds like ...(specify a word).
Find rhyming words.
Find similar and different pictures.
Find the plural of …(specify a word).
Find these words in a book or text.
Find words that begin/end with (specify a letter).
Find words that end with (specify a letter).
Find a descriptive word.
Find a past tense word.
Sort the words by number of consonants/ vowels.
Sort words by number of syllables.
Sort words by category.
Sort words by stress.
Write the words and check them together with the teacher.
Write the words in alphabetical order by the first letter, second letter, etc.
Use the words to make riddles.
Use the words to write a story or a poem.
Use the words to write sentences.

This is one of my vocabulary mats. Get it free here!


New Words

Teaching a new language implies teaching new words. They have to be introduced and practiced in context.

These are some of my children's favorite activities that can be used with any group of new words.

Show me
Display a number of picture cards. Say the name of an object on one of the cards and ask individual children to go to the front of the class and point to the correct card.

What's this?
Invite your children to say the name of the object as you show the picture. You can also want to ask the children to say the new word in sentences such as "It is an apple".

Is this a..?
Show the cards. For each card ask "Is this a...?" Let your kids answer the question using "Yes, it is/No, it isn't"
Invite children to correctly identify and name the objects.

Name Bee
Divide the class into two teams. Show a picture card to a member of a team and ask the child to identify it. A team gets one point for each correctly named object.

What's missing?
Display the pictures of five objects on a table. Invite your kids to name the objects several times, going in order from left to right. Then pick up all the cards, mix them up and remove one card. Place the remaining cards on the table. The class has to say the name of the object on the missing card.
If you are working with older kids, add more cards.

Memory Game
Ask four of five kids to line up in front of the class. Give each of the students a picture card. Ask each child to name the object on the card and show it to the class. Then tell the students to put their cards behind their backs so that the class cannot see them.
Ask the kids in front of the class to change the order in which they are standing. Then prompt the class to say the name of the picture that each student has, by asking questions such as "What has Ana got?" with the class responding with the name of the object.

Naming by colour
If your kids know colours, display pictures of four or five objects of different colours. Tell the kids to name the red object, the blue object, and so on..

Naming by position
If the kids know prepositions of place, display five or six picture cards. Say "I can see an object next to the table". What's this?"

Which go together?
Display cards from various categories. Tell the kids to name all the words in a category, for instance, all the foods, all the animals, all the jobs and so on...

Display eight or ten pictures cards. Make up descriptive sentences relating to one of the items, such as .."It is an animal. It's a pet. It has got spots. It can bark. What's this?". Let your kids guess which picture you are describing.

Action commands
Line up cards along the blackboard. Give individual kids commands to follow, such as "Point to the ball. Point to the blue object. Place the ball next to the fish" Then encourage your kids to give commands to other kids.

Picture sentences
Have the studens learn and chant sentences for the key word on each picture card that you present. This way the students are learning the words in context that supplements the picture. Here are some examples:
The duck is on the farm.

Chain chants
Ask the kids to chant simple sentences while showing pictures. For example show a picture of tomatoes and let kids chant "I like tomatoes". Then add a picture of an ice-cream and let kids chant "I like tomatoes and pizza".
Continue in the same manner until the kids are naming ten objects. To extend this activity you may want to remove cards and have the kids continue to chant, naming all the "missing" objects.

Show sets of at least five pictures, the names of at least three of which beging with the same sound.
Ask the children to say the name of each picture and point to the words that begin with the sound you indicate. It is best to use a single consonant sound like B, D, L, M.. for example banana, lion, etc


Introducing New Words

Introducing vocabulary

There are many ways to be creative when introducing new words to the children. These are some tips
  • Start simple - introduce a few at a time.
  • Use realia (real objects) toy props, posters, cards, photographs.
  • Have children open a packaging – add props or word cards.
  • Receive a letter, a present, something as a surprise.
  • Display pictures of the new words in the flannel or magnet board.
  • Introduce through a story or music or a poem.
  • Let a puppet introduce the words.
  • Have a hunt for the new words in the classroom.
  • As you present new words to children, let them show understanding by pointing, naming, answering comprehensive questions, giving body language responses.
  • Prepare some activities for children to apply the new words, such as cloze sentences in pocket charts, prompt questions, talking to a puppet.

Steps to introduce new words

  • Objects

Place the props, or the cards where children can see them.

Pick up one and introduce its name using the structures children know, for instance “This is a ….”

Then hold up each one and ask “What is this?”

Model the answer “This is a ….”

Ask questions such as “Is this a ….?”

Model answer “Yes it is” “No it isn’t”

  • Actions
Introduce actions by asking children to do the action.

Model first

Then give directions

Let children follow you

Remember it is necessary to re-teach and recycle new words during the week.

How do you introduce new words to little kids?


Happy Everything! Groundhog's Day

What can you do to celebrate Groundhog's Day?

These are some suggestions:

watch Gobbler’s Knob prediction

do groundhog facts treasure hunt!

make pop-up groundhog

do shadow painting

watch the movie

do groundhog dot-to-dot

sing See My Shadow

make groundhog dirt cup treats


St. Valentine's Brochure

St. Valentine’s Brochure or trifold is great to learn about St. Valentine’s life.

Invite your children to look for information about St. Valentine’s life and complete the brochure.

You will find task to complete such as:

What I know

What I want to know

What I learn

You will also find questions such as:

When was he born?

Where did he live?

When did he die?

Why did he die?

Why is St. Valentine’s well known?

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