More interesting ways to present definitions
1. Create student-friendly definitions.
Student-friendly definitions include a subject and an action, rather than a vague infinitive. For example, take a verb like starve, which is defined as "to suffer or die from not having enough food to eat." Rather than sharing that definition, change it to include a name, an action and a time, such as: "When Karen doesn't have enough food to eat, she might suffer, die or starve." It is also helpful to use your students' names whenever you are giving examples of words. For example: "When Jose jumped off the diving board, he made a big splash in the pool."
2. Use current events, events around the school, or pop-culture events that are familiar to students when describing the word. For example, you could say, "Students were starving that day last week when the cafeteria ran out of food."
3. Have students create their own word dictionaries. Create personal word dictionaries with this handout and example.
4. Act out or have groups of students act out the meanings of words. This creates a kinesthetic memory and often a humorous situation that students are likely to recall. For starve, a student might grasp his or her stomach and then fall to the floor. You can have each student in your class act out one word, or you can break students into groups and have them work together.
5. Assign words to the Unit Word Rep, a classroom position described here.
6. Describe common situations in which each word could be used.
7. Explain casual versus formal usage of words. For example, there is a difference between saying, "Some people in Haiti were starving after the earthquake," and "Lunch isn't until noon, and I'm already starving!"
8. You may wish to have your students use each word in a sentence to demonstrate how the word is used in daily speech.
9. You may want to play the song again as students review the definitions.
Define words in students' native language if you are able to, or enlist the help of bilingual students.