Vocabulary Game: Vocab-categories
I love playing games where students have to incorporate their vocabulary in multifarious ways, and this twist on an old favorite might be just what you are looking for.
Ahead of time, you will want to print out and cut out the letter chart so that you can cut out the letters and place them in a bowl to draw from in each round. Additionally, you will want to print out copies of my Vocab-categories page for students to use when play.
On the day of play, familiarize students with how to play the Vocab-categories by handing each student the categories worksheet and have them take out their classroom vocabulary lists or workbooks. If using a vocabulary workbook, it is helpful to have students flip to the index.
Have students read the rules at the top of the Vocab-categories worksheet and examine the example round, then play the practice round as a class. To play the practice round, draw a letter out of your bowl and write the chosen letter on the board. Students must use that letter to complete all of their answers (see the rules at the top of the categories page). Tell the students they have 1 ½ minutes to complete the practice round (as there are only 4 blanks). After 1 ½ minutes have passed, have students share out answers – correcting wrong answers and clarifying confusion as needed.
Next, divide the class into groups of 4-6 players. Draw a new letter out of your bowl and write it on the board, this time allowing students 3-5 minutes to complete List 1 (your decision on how much time you want to give them).
I would allow students to look at their word lists for help in completing their Categories lists (it seems rather difficult to have to remember all of their vocabulary words from rote memory), but you can decide if they are allowed to look up word meanings or simply have the list of words at their disposal. Since the game is timed, you might allow students to look up word meanings, but only give them 3 minutes to complete all of their answers, so they would have to know most of the definitions already.
After the time has passed, have the students share their answers with team members. Students are NOT ALLOWED to write down any more answers once the time has passed, but more than one student can have the same answer (in the traditional Scattergories, points are only earned if an answer is unique to the group, but because of the limited number of vocabulary words that begin with each letter, it seems wrong to not award points for using vocabulary words correctly). Students do NOT earn points if they did not use the vocabulary word correctly in their answer.
Play as many rounds as you want, awarding prizes or bragging rights to the winner of each group.
Additionally, if you do not like my categories or go through my six lists, you can certainly have students create their own lists to fill in. You might have themes based on books or concepts you are studying, or play a combined round with a science or history teacher!
Ultimately, using this vocabulary strategy can be a fun vocabulary activity for a zany day or a reward for work well done, but hopefully students have to think and use vocabulary creatively to win the game and also win a better lexicon in the process!
Common Core Standards:
Language Standard 5: Nuanced and Figurative Word Meaning and Usage
Language Standard 6: Acquire and Use Words Accurately in Specific Situations