Teachers, looking to get students out of their seats and learning some new words? Try introducing pantomime as a vocabulary-enriching activity. As Beck, McKeown and Kucan point out in Creating Robust Vocabulary, "physically responding to words can promote connections to new word meanings."

Obviously, this type of activity lends itself to teaching verbs. For example, if you display the Visual Thesaurus word map for walk and click on the meaning "use one's feet to advance; advance by steps," students will be introduced to a whole host of words for different ways of walking that they can learn and act out.  

Once you display this list of "walks" to your class, you could have students play a charades-like game where each student chooses a different walk to demonstrate, and then the class must try to correctly identify whether the student is slinking, strutting, shuffling or hobbling (just to name a few!). 

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Georgia Scurletis is Director of Curriculum for the Visual Thesaurus and Vocabulary.com. Before coming to Thinkmap, she spent 18 years as a curriculum writer and classroom teacher. Georgia has written curriculum materials for a variety of Web sites (WGBH, The New York Times Learning Network, Edsitement) and various school districts. While teaching high school English in Brooklyn, she was a recipient of the New York State English Council's Educators of Excellence Award, the Brooklyn High Schools' Recognition Award, and The New York Times' Teachers Who Make a Difference Award. Click here to read more articles by Georgia Scurletis.

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Comments from our users:

Monday July 13th 2009, 10:30 AM
Comment by: Meggin M.
In the vocabulary development workshops I have taught for years, I've always said that NEVER should students 'walk' anywhere again, but rather they should shuffle, gallop, prance, etc. If anyone would like a free PowerPoint of words to play with, they are welcome to access it here: It's the 'movement words' one - http://www.owningwordsforliteracy.com/DownloadsPPT.php


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