My awesome co-teacher @YYteach and I recently used this “Simon Says” Vocabulary mastery strategy at the end of our math unit to consolidate our vocabulary understanding.  It works something like this …

Using Kagan’s Pair Compare cooperative learning framework, students sit back to back on the carpet (and in this case with a whiteboard and marker each).

The teacher then phrases a statement identifying a unit specific vocabulary word using common language.  The students’ task is to write down/illustrate the sentence (ie. definition) with a unit specific vocabulary word.  By way of example, the teacher might say “Simon says this type of clock has a short hand and a long hand.  A mathematician says …” following which students work independently at first and then later compare their thinking with that of their partner (and hopefully have written and drawn something that is akin to an analog clock).

In our case we used this activity for math, but it can easily be adapted for any unit of study, whether science, social studies, etc.  Simple, engaging, and effective.  Try it out!

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