Exploiting the dictionary: quick mini-activities 2

Published on 27th May, 2010 in Teaching Tips by Frances Watkins

Last week we looked at how to incorporate dictionary work, in response to lexis issues arising in class. Here are a few more ideas.

• Choose a word / phrase from the lesson which the students have had problems with, eg *He arrived to there; *She gave me some good advices. Students correct it by referring to the patterns, example sentences or other dictionary information, eg countability, transitivity, style.

• At the end of the lesson, write some sentences on the board using the dictionary example sentences of 2–6 words which arose. Gap the target item for students in pairs to fill in, eg His _______ was to become a successful writer (ambition)

• If a word has a more common synonym, write up both words. Students find out which is more frequent by referring to the frequency symbols, eg if concerned arose, compare it with worried.

• Students work in pairs to give a definition of a word from the lesson. They then find out which definition is closest to the dictionary definition.

• Choose a word with than one meaning, eg mind, sentence and simply ask students to find two other meaning(s) which they find interesting.

• If a word has several associated phrases / compounds, which students are likely to understand receptively, try translation, eg with words such as first, mind, head, life etc. Dictate 3–6 example sentences in English, each containing a different variation of the target item, eg for first, your sentences might include: first aid, at first, at first sight, first class, etc. Students translate the sentences into their first language without writing down the English version. They then work in pairs to translate or recall all the first items in English. Finally, they consult a dictionary to check.

1 Comment

  • These small bits of info are helpful because I personally think that using one or two words at a glance or flash remains longer in a students mind than an complete exercise. However, exercises are necessary to get usage (how & when, etc) across

    Catherine on 28 May, 2010