No Prep or Low Prep Ways to Work with New Vocabulary



In a rut and not sure what to do with a new group of vocabulary words you've been working with?  In this post I'll share some low prep and no prep activities you can use, all of which promote 100% target language use.


Logique ou pas logique ? 
I think I first got the idea of comparing items and decided if they were logical or illogical from Susan Frost, a French teacher at Lake George Junior-Senior High School in Lake George, NY.  For this activity, I use SMART Board spinners, but back in the day, I would use those magnetic spinners that you can put on your chalk board.  You basically take two groups of vocabulary and spin the spinners to see if the two items make sense together.


This one compares activities with parts of the body.  It's actually funnier if the answer is not logical, for example, dancing with your ears?!



This one compares activities that begin with "Je fais" with various times or places they might be done.


Spinners can also be used with numbers to produce math problems in any of the four functions!


Mind Map
A great way to get students thinking about vocabulary is to organize it into categories, and probably the most visually engaging way to do that is with a mind map.  I first blogged about this here.  I give my students a set of words to work with and draw a mind map with 3-4 categories for them to copy and expand on, then I have them work in groups to negotiate where they think each term should go.  They are expected to speak only in French while they do this.




Loto
If you're a French teacher, you're probably familiar with LOTO, the French version of Bingo.  Instead of a 5x5 board, it's a 4x4.  Now you can make your own Loto cards for your students if you're so inclined, but I have my students make their own.  They copy down the Loto board, then they put 16 expressions in the squares.  I then act out the terms that the students must look for on their board so as to keep in the target language.  Loto works great for numbers, which, of course, I call out in French because you can't act out numbers really.




Old Standards
There are a couple of old standards that I think are worth mentioning.  Jacques a dit, or Simon Says, is a great way to get students out of their seats.  Mix it up by having a student be Jacques/Simon.  Charades or Pictionary (basically the same game but written vs. spoken) is another favorite of mine.  There are so many different ways to play it.  Often if I just have a few minutes left of class I will draw or act out an expression and have students tell me what it is in French.  Other times I will have students race to play charades in a group and the group that gets through all the expressions first is the winner.  Kids love to draw, so having them draw pictures for each other and guess what term they are drawing is always a fun activity.


What are some of your no prep or low prep ways to work with new vocabulary?

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