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Your own lexicon

Activity type: this activity develops a student’s ability to research his/her own vocabulary.

Level: Elementary and above

Teacher's notes:
  1. Before class, write a new word for each student on a slip of paper; fold the slips of paper in half. These words should be ones that you know the students do not know and that you want them to learn.
  2. At the end of a lesson, hand out a slip of paper to each student.
  3. Tell them that enclosed is a new word that you would like them to find the meaning for.
  4. The students should write the meaning down on the back of the slip of paper. Ensure that each student knows that they must understand the meaning of the word.
  5. Once back in class, ask the students to get out the slips of paper. Tell them to walk around the room, showing the word to each student. As they do this, they should explain the meaning of the word.
  6. At the end of this, ask each student in turn to show and explain their word to the whole class or ask another class member to explain the word based on what he/she was told.
  7. You may need to go over the pronunciation of the words and drill them.
  8. Allow time for each student to write down all of the words at the end of the activity or alternatively hand out a photocopied list of the words.


You could ask the students to not only look up the meanings of their words but also to write it in a sentence. This will check the students’ understanding of the usage.

You could also ask them to find out the part of speech, the formality or informality of the word and the phonemic script for it.
By asking for all of this you will develop the students’ ability to use a dictionary.
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