Vocabulary board

Awesome activities to do with vocabulary boards and cards

Have you ever purchased a teaching unit or curriculum and wondered, “What the heck am I supposed to use this for?” I have gotten that question occasionally from some of my friends concerning the vocabulary boards that are included in 99% of my units. I do have this great short video, giving you some ideas, but I wanted to share 10 more awesome ways you can use these vocabulary boards (oh, and it works with those vocabulary cards in some of my units as well!!). At the end of this post, you can download a complete list with a summary of all these activities you can keep for a quick reference. Trust me, your kids will not only LOVE these activities, but learn from them as well.

If you would like to download some FREE schedule cards to go with these awesome activities, check out this blog post on adding structure to small group lessons by clicking HERE.

First, here is the video I made a few years ago about using these boards in case you missed it.

Now let’s add some new and exciting ways you can use these in your classroom. Remember, if you purchased a unit that has vocabulary cards, you can do these same activities with those as well.

NOTE: For many of these activities you will want to enlarge a second copy of your vocabulary board since you will be holding the images up in front of the students. If you are unable to do this, NO PROBLEM!! Just send me an email at specialneedsforspecialkids@gmail.com and tell me which vocabulary board you need enlarged. I will email you an enlarged copy!!

I can make large cards for you 😉

I Spy Game

Here is what you will need:

  • one copy of the board for each student
  • one teacher copy you have cut apart (enlarging it also helps but is not necessary)
  • Counters/markers or way for students to mark their board

How to play:

  • Hold one of the pictures from the board so only you can see it.
  • Describe it with as much detail as you can
  • Ask students to put their marker/counter on the picture they think you are holding
  • Turn it around and ask students to raise their hand if they got it correct

Scavenger Hunt

Here is what you will need:

  • one copy of the board for each student
  • one teacher copy you have cut apart (enlarging it also helps but is not necessary)
  • Sticky notes

How to play:

  • Paste the symbols around the room
  • Students walk around with their vocabulary board looking for matching symbols
  • Place a sticky note on their board covering the symbols as they find them

Speed Matching

Here is what you will need:

  • two copies of the vocabulary board cut apart

How to play:

  • place all the cards in the middle of the table
  • hold up a card, and the students race to find it in the pile in the middle of the table
  • NOTE:  for students with physical challenges, allow them to simply find the symbol on their board or communication device

Puzzles

Here is what you will need:

  • One copy of the vocabulary board with each symbol cut in half

How to play:

  • Give each student a pile of pieces
  • Have them reassemble the pieces into the correct symbols
  • They may have to ask each other if someone else has the second half to a piece they have.  Great for increasing communication and sharing.

vocabulary puzzle pieces

Go Fish

Here is what you will need:

  • 3-4 copies of the vocabulary board (depending on if you want them to find sets of 3 or 4 matching symbols)

How to play:

  • Give each student a 4-5 symbols that they hold so no one else can see them
  • Play traditional Go Fish game

Sorting Games

Here is what you will need:

  • One copy of the vocabulary board for each student
  • Different colored counters or sticky notes

How to play:

  • Find a common characteristic of many of the symbols on the board, for example:
    • people
    • animals
    • places
    • actions
    • food
  • Have students place one color counter on all those that share that characteristic
  • Place the other color on all those that do NOT share that characteristic (or leave them uncovered)
  • You can give students some clues, like you should be able to cover 6 symbols

Ordinal Practice

Here is what you will need:

  • A copy of the vocabulary board for each student
  • Counters/markers or sticky notes

How to play:

  • This is a great way to practice some math while doing a totally unrelated lesson
  • Have students place the counter on the first, second, third, etc symbol in row 1
  • You may need to differentiate or modify the board to help students understand which row they are looking at
    • Label the rows to the left 1-5
    • Cover the rows you are not using so there is only one row visible

Coding Practice

Here is what you will need:

  • A copy of the vocabulary board for each student marked with labels up, down, right and left
    • You can just add these temporarily with sticky notes so you do not have to print all new boards
    • For non-readers, use U, D, R, L or arrows
  • Some kind of counter/marker or pawn they can move from a board game
  • Optional:  7 large cards with number 1-3 and up, down, right, left

How to play:

  • Have every student put their marker or pawn on the same starting square
  • Have students show you, by pointing, which was is up, down, left and right
    • Or hold up your large card and have them finding the matching direction on their board
  • Give simple directions like:
    • Move 2 right
    • Move 1 down
    • Move 1 right
    • Move 1 down
  • Where do you end up?
  • For more advanced students, write out the directions on an index card and see if they all end up in the same place

coding cards

Bean Bag Toss

Here is what you will need:

  • A copy of the vocabulary board for each student
  • A copy of the vocabulary board cut apart
  • Small paper plates (you can also use pieces of construction paper)
  • Bean bags

How to play:

  • Glue the cut apart symbols to the paper plates (one on each plate)
  • Arrange them around the room
  • Students toss the bean bag trying to get it to land on a paper plate
  • Students retrieve the paper plate
  • Find the matching symbol on their board, or name the symbol

BINGO Bean Bag Toss

Here is what you will need:

  • A copy of the vocabulary board for each student
  • 1-2 copies of the vocabulary board cut apart
  • Small paper plates (you can also use pieces of construction paper)
  • Bean bags
  • Bean bags
  • Counters or markers

How to play:

  • This is set up just like the bean bag toss above
  • Explain to the students they will be trying to collect enough symbols to get either a complete row down or across
  • Students then need to be able to visually find the symbol they are looking for in their row and toss the bean bag so it hopefully lands on it
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