Published 15th December 2017

We’ve spoken before about the importance of learning vocabulary when learning a language and also about how essential revision of that vocabulary is. We’ve even given you ideas on how to revise vocabulary, but because it’s such an important aspect of our EFL classroom, we thought we’d give you a few more.

Most vocabulary revision activities focus on remembering individual words or phrases and their meanings in isolation. While this is certainly useful, it is necessary to further revise language in appropriate contexts. In other words, vocabulary should be revised with activities that practice using the language in its appropriate situations. Here are 7 activities which can help you do just that.

Vocabulary Pictures

Give the students a set of random pictures. These pictures do not have to relate directly to the vocabulary being revised. Ask the students to choose a picture and describe the situation utilising as many of the target vocabulary items as possible. For example, they may simply describe the scene or they may use the picture as the backdrop of a story.

2 Truths and a Lie

This is an age-old EFL classroom game and it can be manipulated to be a handy revision activity. Each student must come up with three sentences about themselves. Two of the sentences must be true and one of the sentences must be a lie. The only prerequisite for these sentences is that they must contain the target vocabulary items. Students must then read their sentences aloud to other students who must guess which sentence is false.

For example, if the target vocabulary to be revised is extreme adjectives, three sentences may be:

The hottest place I’ve been to is Dubai, when it was 55 degrees. It was boiling.

The last time I was exhausted was after I ran the Boston marathon.

My kitchen is filthy because I’m allergic to cleaning.

Q & A

Using the target vocabulary items, the students must write questions they can ask their classmates. These questions can relate to anything. Let the students mingle and ask each other their questions and discuss their answers.

Storytime

Write the target language on the board. Put the students in small groups. Each student in turn must say a sentence using one of the target vocabulary items. The next person must continue the story with another sentence, using another vocabulary item. The story continues until all the words have been used.

Connections

Write the list of target vocabulary items on the board. Give the students some time to think of connections they can make between the words. They can then share their ideas with other students. This activity helps students put the words into context and create links between words. At the end of the activity, the students can report back on which connections they feel are the most memorable.