Vocabulary Storm - No Prep ESL Activity

Are your ss competitive? Want an engaging activity that wakes your ss up while assessing their prior knowledge at the same time? Try this No Prep ESL activity.

Skills Engaged: Vocabulary, Cooperative Learning, Spelling
Materials: Whiteboard, & markers
Time: 10-20 min

Step by Step:

  1. Place ss into groups of not more than 3-5 people.
  2. Explain, "Our next activity is a vocabulary storm of all the words you know about (the theme you're exploring, i.g.) natural disasters. Together with your group, you will write down as many words as you can about it. You have 5 minutes. The spelling must be correct. Also, the words you write must be related to the theme. You cannot check your phone or your books. You must use your brain. Let's see which group knows the most words."
  3. "Take out a piece of paper. Get ready. Write down all the words related to (i.g.) 'volcanoes'. Go!"
  4. Give ss 5 minutes to finish the activity.
  5. On the whiteboard, draw a table with enough columns for each group + a column for "Bingo" words.
  6. "Group A, tell me your words & I will write them down on the board. Other groups, if you have the same word, shout 'BINGO'. The group with the most of unique words wins!"
  7. As ss say their words, check their pronunciation of those words. Correct when necessary & get a choral reading when necessary. Meanings will be discussed at the end of the activity.
  8. Write the unique words in the respective group's column. If another group claims "Bingo", write that word in the "Bingo" column along with the number of groups claiming the word.
  9. After every group has shared their words, go over the pronunciation of the words. Then, discuss the meanings of the more unique words. DON'T DO THE EXPLAINING YOURSELF! YOU ARE THE TEACHER NOT A STUDENT. Since your ss came up with those words, they should be able to explain them too. Make sure they have enough wait time.
  10. At the end of the activity, you should have a good idea of the words that most of your ss know, words on the periphery of their knowledge & unknown words that you'll have to teach them in the future.

Follow up:

  1. Use the activity as a pre-writing activity for an essay/letter/article/response related to the theme.
  2. Use the activity as a pre-reading activity for an article related to the theme.
  3. Reinforce the vocabulary with Sentence Run or Group Flyswatter

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