Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Word Lanyards for science

So once we determine the words that we want to focus on, what do we do to ensure the students learn them? I know we introduced the words and then had the kids write them in a vocabulary journal.  They even used research methods online to find the synonyms, antonyms and prefixes/suffixes on their own. That's very empowering and engaging...but it is not enough. What do we do next?

In the past, we may have scoured the internet (or even the teacher's store) searching for games, worksheets even crafts that may be "cute" and "fun" for the kids.  However, even with all that extra work and effort, the kids often didn't make the connections or remember the meanings.

Word Nerds  gives a lot of suggestions that we have tried and used in our classroom.  Our favorite is the Word Lanyards. 

With the lanyards, we type up the six key words along with synonyms, antonyms or words with prefixes or suffixes added to the base word.  Our team takes turns typing up the lists and we print copies for each classroom.  Then we cut out the words and put them in the lanyards.  (In my case, I have a few late bus kids cut and put them in the lanyards!)

Each day, students take one lanyard to wear throughout the day.  We use the words during transitions (if you have a synonym for ____, line up), brain breaks and morning meeting games.

Here are some ideas: 

Scramble - By the time I get to 5 find all the words that are related. They should get into six groups with the synonyms or antonyms together with the key word.  Check to make sure they are correct. Once finished, sit down!

Word Dude and Checking Dude – Split class into two groups – Word dudes on one side of the room and Checking dudes on the other.   Then say by the time I count to 5, get into a group of two.  Word dudes have to give a sentence with their word in it while checking dude checks to see if they are right.  If they use the words correctly, they should give a silent cheer, do a silent dance move and then go back to their side of the room.  Then student jobs switch and repeat the process. Should take 5 minutes.

Pictionary – choose one of the 22 words and draw a picture on the whiteboard.  Have students guess what it is.

Create a tableau using the words. A Tableau is a "freeze picture" that acts out the word. Google it for more information!

We have found that our fourth graders have done these activities without any problems - as long as it is quick, fun and move on!

Hope this helps your day...





  1. I need to focus more on vocabulary in science with my 6th graders. Well, vocabulary in everything, but especially science. :)

    Thanks for the post!


  2. Hey Leslie!! Check out my website and my blog- I want to be like you when I grow up!!

    see you at the next VAST meeting!