It’s almost time for back to school. Can you believe it? I sure can’t. Summer has flown by, as per usual, but I sure hope yours has been fantastic.
Teaching Vocabulary in the Early Years
With the first few weeks of school in mind, I’ve created these three editable activities specifically for preschool to kindergarten grade levels to reinforce school vocabulary. Why the focus on language here? Students must have a solid vocabulary base to support reading comprehension. So working on building vocabulary with early emergent readers is vital to the development of reading skills and the love of reading.
Second Language Development
These activities can also be used for second language learning and vocabulary acquisition. For example, they’re great to use in bilingual or dual language classrooms. Since the teachers can share these items and use them in their language of instruction, these games can greatly aid in language transfer between two (or more) languages.
Three Back to School Activities
Take a look at these ready-to-use bingo cards, flashcards, and “I Have, Who Has” game cards. You can edit these activities to add or change anything you see fit. I purposefully didn’t include words on these cards since the focus is oral language, but once you are working on letter-sound correspondence (like beginning sounds, etc.), you can certainly add the text. Additionally, you can replace my photos with photos you (or the students) take of these items in your classroom.
Unpopular opinion alert! There are some truly beautifully made, very cute templates and resources out there, and I appreciate them. But I did not make these activities very cute (outside of the title page) on purpose. Because I don’t believe that students really need them to be or that it really helps the learning. In fact, keeping things plain and simple is often best, especially for young students learning foundational oral language and reading skills.
Here is the school supply vocabulary I used:
- Colored Pencils
- Pencil Bag
- Trash Can
- Water Bottle
- Recycle Bin
- Paint Brushes
- Glue Stick
Back to School Supplies Flashcards
When introducing vocabulary, I liked to use real objects or flashcards with real photos of the objects on them. Here are very simple flashcards that can be used in a variety of ways.
Ideas for Using these Back to School Flashcards:
- Mystery Box: I loved using the mystery box to introduce new vocabuarly. I would sing a little mystery box song (that I completely made up) and pull a card out of the box for the students to identify. When I was teaching pre-K students, this was one of their favorite things.
- Matching/Memory Game: Print out two sets of cards and place them all face down. Have students take turns turning over two cards at a time. If the two cards chosen match, they can be left face up. If the two cards do not match, they should be turned face down. Continue until all matches have been found.
- Kim’s Game: Place three cards in front of a student face up. Have the student close his/her eyes. Remove one card from the group. When the student opens their eyes, ask them to tell you which card is missing. This game can be differentiated by varying the number of cards, the number of cards you remove, and by mixing the cards up after you remove cards.
- Supply Hunt: Have students draw a flashcard from the mystery box and then find the object(s) in the classroom. This is a great way to help students get to know where supplies are!
Back to School Supplies Bingo
Get out some beans, counting bears, counters, or counting bugs, and play back to school bingo with your young learners. Five cards are included in this template, but you can certainly add more by duplicating sheets and moving around (or adding to) the images to make the new cards unique. I loved playing bingo in small groups, and I often used it as an informal assessment for listening comprehension and took anecdotal notes. Can students identify objects when they hear the vocabulary word? This game will show you. You can use the flashcards as support for language learners when playing this game (but only if needed). If a student needs support, just say the word, hold up the flashcard, and encourage the student to say the word and find the image on their card. This is a game that can really be used with any vocabulary, including numbers, shapes, and colors!
Additional Back to School Bingo Ideas:
- School People Bingo: Switch out the images with pictures of classmates, teachers, and school staff to help students get to know each other and those around them.
- Classroom Jobs Bingo: Use the images you have on the jobs chart to help familiarize students with the classroom jobs.
- Around School Bingo: Use images of various spots on campus (cafeteria, playground, classroom, library, etc.) and in your classroom (centers, carpet, small group table, etc.) to help students recognize and learn school spaces.
“I Have, Who Has?” Cards
This game was a favorite in my pre-K classroom. It really motivated students when it came to speaking! Just follow the instructions below with your small group, and let the speaking, listening, and vocabulary reinforcement begin.
Do you have other ideas for ways to use these three activities for back to school bonding and language acquisition? Please share with us in the comments.