Curriculum Vocābulōrum: A Contextualized Classroom Game

This is my take on Martina Bex’s Word Race. I consider our activities to be evolved versions of “flyswatter” games that now align more closely to Second Language Acquisition principles. Skip to Martina’s process if you’re unfamiliar with it, then come back to read about my Curriculum Vocābulōrum Variation:

Instead of saying isolated English phrases, I tell a story in Latin, or read aloud the text whence came the phrases. Thus, the students will hear what they’re looking for in context so the input is more meaningful. Not only that, but students must pay more attention since I read along without much time given between each phrase they ‘re listening for. With my variation, the word clouds are in English so students hear the target language. Use this template, or just print out the word cloud.

Update 1.19.16 – I no longer include the writing portion of this activity. Why? The stories with Martina’s version took a long time to write, some students received a line of a story that didn’t fit with the rest of the story, others had to interpret garbage, and some students kept writing the same sentence each time we passed the papers. The name of the game is INPUT, not forced OUTPUT, so I find the best results when sticking to it.

Wordle English

Unfamiliar with Martina’s Word Race? Here it is in a nutshell…

  • Prepare this template using Wordle.net, or equivalent (i.e. get a screenshot of the word cloud, then paste into the template).
  • Pass ONE (1, ūnus, I) to a pair of students.
  • Say an English translation of a phrase.
  • Students “race” to highlight the phrase in target language.
  • After a set time (you will probably be asked to do a tie-breaker), pass a SECOND paper out to the pairs so each student has one.
  • Students begin writing one sentence of a story using phrases from the cloud for 1-2min, then pass paper (these can be passed all around the room, not just between the pair) and continue story a sentence at a time.
  • Keep adding 30sec-1min. each sentence since students need more and more time to read the growing story.
  • Do something with the student stories (e.g. type up/correct errors and do a Read and Discuss, etc.).

So, Curriculum Vocābulōrum doesn’t require much more prep than a flyswatter game, you don’t project anything (= low tech), there’s more meaningful input, and ALL students are engaged as opposed to only two at a time up at the board. All you need to do is to paste some phrases into Wordle.net (put a tilda (~) between words to keep them as a single phrase), and copy that image into this template. Enjoy!

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One thought on “Curriculum Vocābulōrum: A Contextualized Classroom Game

  1. Pingback: Competitive Input Activity: English Quadrant Word Race | Magister P.

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