Vocabulary Activities

Also see my Throw Away the Textbook page for how my classes develop their own units and vocabulary lists!

  • Warm-up (3-5 minutes): Print and cut vocabulary words into small strips of paper. (Words are in the target language.) Students must describe their word(s) to another student and the partner must guess the word in the target language. Students exchange papers and move onto a new partner so that vocabulary is constantly circulating. (Bonus: Students are moving around. Don’t forget the music!)
  • Les Mots Coupés (beginner levels): Students must piece vocabulary words together by syllables and also translate each word. Each syllable can only be used once so warn students to cross them off when found! Click here for an example: Les Mots Coupés example
  • Family Tree activity: I created this French Family Tree activity for French 1 students. (Hint: It’s only one side of Stéphanie’s family!)
  • Chapter unit reviews: While I believe we need to steer away from worksheets, I still find that students (especially in the beginner levels) feel comforted by notes and review practice in one document before a final exam. Here are review sheets I have made in the past for French 1.
  • Physical descriptions: My students use a lot of whiteboards but this can also be done with a Paint-like application on a device. Students take turns describing a person or creature. Their partner must draw according to the partner’s description. No peeking until the very end to see the final drawing!
  • Jumbled words competition: Students will easily remember the days of the week or months when they have to rearrange papers as fast they can, in competition with other groups. This activity goes by quickly so I do a few rounds for reinforced practice.
    • LET’S EDTECH THIS! Did you know that Kahoot has a Jumble question format? Ask students to create a grammatically correct sentence, dragging the words into the proper order. This is great practice for beginners to teach sentence structure and for when students are learning pronouns order and placement.