Choose a topic T-chart like/dislike

Activity name: T-Chart

Thanks to Ellie Purdy for sharing this tip!

Purpose: to practice vocab, categorize info, use effective communication skills, and have fun.

Preparation time: 5 minutes, if you already have flash cards ready

Materials needed: T-chart with two categories that fit your unit topic such as Clinic/Emergency Room, Winter/Summer, Rooms/Furniture, or Perishable/Not Perishable; flashcards/word cards from the unit of study

Hand holding a card

Purpose: to practice the meanings of vocabulary words

Prep Time: 0-20 minutes, depending on availability of the materials

Materials: sets of about 10 word cards—either with text or a picture on each card

Prep: gather the materials

calendar pages

Activity Name:  Categorizing Months, Days and Years

Purpose:  to practice vocabulary for months, days and years, while using critical thinking skills

Preparation time:  enough time to cut up attached word cards (1 set per pair of students) and place them in envelopes, 20 minutes

fruit and veggie flash cards

Purpose: Flash cards can be used to provide students with additional practice or additional challenge. They can be used individually or in groups. Please see the list below for more ideas on how to use them for varied purposes.

Prep Time: 0-25 minutes, depending on whether you need to make your own flash cards


Purpose: To use listening skills while practicing vocabulary

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Materials: A whiteboard, pens and paper, and a list of vocabulary

Prep: Choose a list of approximately ten vocabulary words that the students have been studying

vegetable vocabulary cards

Picture cards are a valuable, fun and flexible teaching tool. The tutor tip a couple weeks ago explained how to make them. This week we’ll look at ideas for using them.  Many of the suggestions work with words cards as well as picture cards. Here are twenty ideas to get you started:

job search picture story

Purpose: Picture cards and picture stories are great for both introducing and practicing vocabulary for beginning English learners and in multi-level classes. This tip explains how to create your own. Watch for future tips with ideas for using them.

Materials: presentation software (such as Microsoft PowerPoint, Google slides, or similar), a printer, and scissors


white board

Purpose: to practice describing and defining vocabulary

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Materials: a board with markers, an extra chair, and a list of vocabulary words to review and practice


1.      prepare a list of vocabulary words to review and practice

2.      place a chair at the front of the classroom such that a person seated in the chair would have his or her back to the board


picture grid

Activity: Picture Grids

Purpose: to practice vocabulary, sentence formation, and reading from left to right

Prep Time: 15-30 minutes, depending on availability of pictures


Purpose: This activity can take up to an hour and focuses on speaking, listening, writing, and, to a lesser extent, reading.  Students also get a chance to see target vocabulary used in different ways. 

Preparation time: none

Materials needed: Sentence template for each learner with a different color for each group (see link below), white board or area of whiteboard for each group, and red pens




Subscribe to RSS - vocabulary