Jan Scott - English Language Partners

Jan Scott
May 2015
My favourite resource
The Vocab Box
1. In addition to new language that comes up in class, each learner brings one word or
phrase that they have come across outside the classroom each week to present to
the class. For twice weekly classes, split learners into two groups so that one group
presents their vocab each class.
2. Before presenting their word/phrase to the class, learners independently try to learn
everything they can about each word/phrase so that they can introduce it to their
classmates. This includes:
Word class
An example of its use in a sentence.
3. After telling the class about their word/phrase, learners write it on a vocab card and
all of the new words/phrases go into the vocab box (I use an ice cream container).
4. Vocab from the box is recycled each class, eg:
a. At the start of each class students take two random vocab cards from the box
and they have to use these items in conversation with their partner/group.
b. Good for filling the last ten/fifteen minutes of class – can play noughts and
crosses games where they make sentences using words from the cards, hot
seat, spelling games, pair tests, practising sentence structure etc.
5. I sometimes add to the box some flash cards demonstrating any grammar structures
we have covered in class. On one side I show the reason for using that grammar
point, eg. “talk about a habit” and then I show the form on the other side. When
these cards are included, students need to use the vocab words they select with the
grammar structure given on the card. This requires them to make grammatical
sentences on the spot, but they usually feel confident to do it because they have
been given the form they need to follow.
6. At the end of the term I type up a list of all the words from the box. Typically there
are about 80 to 100 items on the list. By this time learners are usually familiar with,
and able to use, most of the listed vocab fairly effectively. As the new vocab has been
sourced from their own lives and they have practised using it in a natural way, it
tends to stick in their minds and is relevant and useful out of the classroom.