November 30, 2010
I devised a vocabulary exercise that I call "Word Therapy." When we begin a new unit, students choose a word to portray in a "therapy session," which we hold on Thursdays. We circle up like in a therapy group, and we, as our vocab words, talk about why we are there, our strengths, weaknesses, hobbies, family issues, etc. For example, I played the word "masticate," and the whole time I chewed gum in a noisy way. I revealed that I was in therapy because I felt like I had to be chewing something all of the time. Employers had become annoyed with me, and I was having difficulty keeping a job.
As long as the students make their words memorable, the level of retention is amazing. I have them wear a nametag during the therapy session to further help them remember who played which word. When we begin a new unit, they are so excited to choose their words. Some students look ahead to units coming up, so they can sign up for words in advance. It really brings vocabulary to life.