Vocabulary Activity: Branding with Vocabulary
Have you ever noticed how many vocabulary words are in brands? Every year, my kids will walk up to me with a blank CD, DVD or jump drive and say, “Hey Ms. Ressler-it says ‘verbatim!’” Then we get into a cool conversation about why their vocabulary word “verbatim” makes a great company name for products that you use to save information in its original form.
Later, when we get to the word “pinnacle” I always ask about golf brands-and inevitably a student will say, yes, there is a golf ball brand named ‘Pinnacle.’ Of course, most students will tell me the brand isn’t actually that great, but it sure sounds like it is —as do all the signs for the “Pinnacle Development Company” down the street –or, when googled, the companies Pinnacle Sports, Pinnacle Management and Pinnacle Airlines.
I also like to point out to students that I own “Vanguard Mutual Funds” on the day “vanguard” is our vocabulary word. I tell them I actually didn’t know what “vanguard” meant for a long time, but it makes me feel that much more secure now that I know a ‘vanguard’ is at the forefront of new technologies as well as at the head of an army—my company is touting itself as number one (kind of like those pinnacle guys).
So for a fun vocabulary activity, consider asking your students to create their own company name and a slogan using a vocabulary word; the results can be serious or farcical. For example, if a student suggested “Mountebank Investments-have we got a good deal for you!” –clearly the student has to know a mountebank is a charlatan and that only charlatans promise really great deals. On a more conventional route, “Assent Car Sales-we always agree that you need a new car, no matter your credit!” uses the word assent with it’s synonym “agree” in the slogan-and we know car salesmen always want us buying new cars!
Kids should have some fun and you can post their brand+slogans around the room (hint: asking for a slogan that hints at or defines the vocabulary word is imperative-otherwise kids’ could just google their words and find a company name).
Vocabulary Brand Design Rubric:
___/5 Business name makes sense with the vocabulary word
___/10 Business slogan hints at or defines the vocabulary word
___/10 Design of ad is thoughtful and reflects the vocabulary word in font style and graphics
*Note to students: Feel free to explain on the back of your illustration how your design reflects the vocabulary word if you worry that it won’t be implicitly understood
Common Core Standards:
Reading Literature/Informational Text Standard 4. Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text
Language Standard 4. Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown words