Teaching Vocabulary with Creativity

Teach Vocabulary Creatively (and Other Engaging Activities)

Are you looking for a better way to introduce or review vocabulary words? Here's an activity you can use with any unit that is quick and effective, versatile, and encourages creativity in your students.

I call it "Vocabulary Scattergories," which is a play on the game Scattergories®. If you're familiar with the game, you know that you have lists of categories, such as "Things found in the kitchen," then you roll an alphabet die to choose the letter. Finally, you have a set amount of time to write down as many words that begin with that letter for each category.

Vocabulary Scattergories is slightly different. Students have their set vocabulary lists. Then, they choose a category and must find some connection to the word. This allows the student to think creatively (or "outside the box") and have some fun with words.  The categories are random but include things students can relate to, such as "Something you find in a teenager's locker" or "Something you find under a child's bed" and even "Character from the novel Twilight." Sometimes it is hard to find a connection and they must stretch for one. But that process really pushes their creativity and thinking skills–something they (we) all need to do more often.

To help them form their comparisons, I usually give them a prompt, such as:
____________ [insert vocabulary word] is/are like _____________________[insert category] because ______________________.

For chapter 1 in The Hunger Games, I would assign each student (or for larger classes, pairs of students) one vocabulary word. Next, they draw a category from the bucket. I give them a few minutes (the older the student, the less time they need) to complete the task in writing, then ask that they share their sentence with the class.

An example sentence may be:
Entrails are like cold leftover spaghetti [item you find in a refrigerator] because both are long, stringy, gooey, and not very appetizing.

Allow students to ask one another why they made that connection. In this case, the student clarified to the class that entrails refer to human or animal intestines that have been removed and/or exposed. (Insert groans and "Gross!" from the crowd here.)

This activity shouldn't be used for every chapter or even every unit.  I try to use it sparingly so it remains a "fun" activity rather than a chore. If you need Common Core vocabulary lessons, I have two packets for Common Core Vocabulary Graphic Organizers by grade levels (they are editable):
Common Core Vocabulary Activities/Organizers for Grades 6-12
Common Core Vocabulary Activities/Organizers for Grades 2-5

I have used the categories in other ways, though. You can use the same prompt but instead of vocabulary words, use character names. (I created "character tags" that uses this same concept, except instead of categories I use pictures.) This is a great way to review characters before a test.

Teach Vocabulary With CreativityAn example for character review is:
_______________[character name] is like a/an ________________[category] because __________________.

Katniss is like a grapefruit [type of fruit] because even though she looks like a sweet orange, she can be sour.

Other ways to use "Vocabulary Scattergories":
Daily Bell-ringer for Word of the Day: To add some fun to your word of the day activities, have a student draw a category for the entire class. Each student writes a sentence comparing that word to something from the category. (The students would still need to look up the word of the day for the definition, but instead of writing out the definition, they would form a comparison instead.)

Word Game: Have five-ten minutes left of class? Have students use scratch paper and draw a category. Say it out loud and give them one minute to write as many words they can think of that fit that category. Make it harder by choosing a letter the words must start with (like Scattergories®). For large groups, allow teams of students to work together. 

Poetry writing: Have students draw a category and write a poem based on that topic OR each line of a poem must be a new category.

Story Starters: Are students stumped writing short stories? Have them draw a category for inspiration.

Longest Word Contest: Draw a category and see who can come up with the longest word relating to that category.

8 Simple Ways to Inspire Creativity in your ClassroomScrabble® with a Twist: Leave all the letter tiles face up. Each player takes a turn by drawing a category and forming a word relating to that category. They can draw tiles for each turn and only pick the amount of tiles they need for their word (blank tiles can be distributed to each player first or could be "purchased" with points). This encourages them to choose longer words, but also to think about words that relate to that category. It's a little bit easier for kids, yet encourages some creativity. When all the tiles are gone, the player with the most points wins.  For a real challenge, play Scrabble® the traditional way, but with the categories.

There are so many ways to use this activity. I copied mine onto colored paper and laminated them. I had a student office helper cut them with a paper cutter and I store them in plastic baggies. I usually dump them into a recycled bucket (laundry detergent, whipped cream, or margarine spread bowls work well) and have students draw from there so they can't see the categories as they choose.

Download the free preview or the separate FREE product link to try it out & see if you like it.


  1. Really I enjoy your site with effective and useful information. It is included very nice post with a lot of our resources.thanks for share. i enjoy this post. vocabulary everyday KISS English

  2. Excellent article. Very interesting to read. I really love to read such a nice article. Thanks! keep rocking. buy real active likes on instagram

  3. I admire this article for the well-researched content and excellent wording. I got so involved in this material that I couldn’t stop reading. I am impressed with your work and skill. Thank you so much. joker

  4. Thanks for a very interesting blog. What else may I get that kind of info written in such a perfect approach? I’ve a undertaking that I am simply now operating on, and I have been at the look out for such info. ufabet

  5. i was looking at a number of your posts in this website and i conceive this net web site is in imply of fact advisory! hold setting taking vicinity.. Poker Online Indonesia

  6. POKERAMPM Merupakan Penyedia Situs IDN Poker, Poker Online Indonesia, Daftar Poker Terpercaya telah melayani semua bank di ...Poker Online Indonesia

  7. top 10 reasons why good employees quit The freedom to learn what you want in the biggest bibliotheca, check out the best online bibliotheque encyclopedia covering all areas of knowledge.

  8. awesome article, it's miles especially beneficial! I quietly commenced in this, and i am becoming more acquainted alongside amid it higher! Delights, refrain take leisure motion greater and tallying superb! That Time I Got Reincarnated As A Slime Shion

  9. Nice post! This is a very nice blog that I will definitively come back to more times this year! Thanks for informative post. 스포츠중계


  11. Welcome To matka tips Players No1 Website SattaMatkaTips Online Matka Results.Our Fast Satta Matka Results & Fix.

  12. Others will settle on a more idiosyncratic methodology which will bring about bright, vanguard pieces.https://learnglassblowing.com/

  13. This will open a window containing the HTML source code of the page. Inspect an HTML Element: Right-click on an element basic HTML CODE

  14. In any case, they have apparently gone to some concurrence with certain applications accessible for the Android, I assume to challenge the developing nearness of Apple's capacity. Thus, in view of that lets dive into the subtleties of web based gaming structure.
    epic games fortnite

  15. Discover deals on your favorite beauty brands today! Luxury Beauty, Hair Care, Skin Care & Make Up at GlomBeauty.com. Free Delivery To Dubai, Abu Dhabi ... janssen skin care

  16. I simply couldn’t go away your website before suggesting that I actually enjoyed the standard information an individual provide on your visitors? Is gonna be back frequently in order to inspect new posts Starcraft II PC Game Download

  17. URL Encoder. Enter text to URL encode or decode. Converts the text into a percent encoded string URL CODE

  18. Your blog provided us with valuable information to work with. Each & every tips of your post are awesome. Thanks a lot for sharing. Keep blogging Garena Free Fire MOD APK

  19. thanks for that excuse an awful lot for the make acknowledged you get. I subsequent on your say and all you component long gone us is acquainted and quite informative, i would behind to bookmark the web page so i'm able to arrive right here anew to gate you, as you have got over and ended surrounded by way of a extremely good process. Pinoy Tambayan

  20. Very beautiful written article. it'll be in settlement to all people who utilizes it, such as me. hold accomplish what you're put it on canr wait to recognition extra posts. Lambingan

  21. We ought to most likely save the expression "game motor" for programming that is extensible and can be utilized as the establishment for a wide range of games without significant alteration. gaming reviews

  22. that is truely intellectual content material and written thinking about ease for a regulate. it's best to peer that some human beings but put taking region as soon as a way to write a man or woman nation.! 먹튀검증 안전놀이터 스포츠중계 꽁머니 먹튀검증 토토사이트 안전놀이터 꽁머니

  23. Awoyinfa stresses that since human beings constitute the most important element in sports organisation, sports managers need some understanding of why people behave in one way or the other, so that they (sports managers) can influence people to perform exactly the way sports organisations find desirable. dart boards for adults

  24. thank you for posting this info. I simply angst-ridden feeling to will let you realize that I just take a look at out your web page and that i locate it fairly charming and informative. I can't wait to right of access lots of your posts. Pinoy Lambingan


For you, the three-finger silent salute...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...