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Vocab Sponge

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This is a simple way of revising key vocabulary from a text. To start, I dictate a list of words taken from the text. Then, in pairs or small groups, students try to predict what the text is about. If they struggle, giving half or all of the title is a good prompt. And don't worry, if this sounds dry for your teen classes, wait and see what wacky ideas they come up with. Also, you can do pron work by having students dictate the words back to you. You will need them on the board for later.

Next, students scan text and underline words, also comparing predictions with content. Comprehension questions, either mine or those from the book, focus students on the second read. Students work in pairs to work out meanings of dictated words in context. With the words on the board in a grid, students get 30 seconds or a minute to memorize. Words are quickly erased, or "sponged" up by the whiteboard eraser. In pairs or teams, studnets then "wring out" the words, getting points for spelling, pronunciation, and meaning.

I like this because it integrates all four skills and can make a somewhat dry text fun. The grid + sponge works well with collocations, too. Have fun, and send ideas, I can always use new ones.

Chris Featherman, Gdansk, Poland.
[email protected]

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