The Joy of Teaching – An Evan-Moor Blog

Sharing creative ideas and lessons to help children learn

Simple and Effective Vocabulary Lessons


Vocabulary is an essential focus of current standards, with emphasis placed on teaching vocabulary through meaningful engagement, not memorization. We know this is ideal, but how do we give students meaningful experiences with words? Our veteran teachers on staff have a few ideas to share, and we’d love to hear your ideas, too.

Common Core State Standards recommend:


Sample vocabulary lesson: “Music to Their Ears”

This simple but effective lesson can be adapted across grade levels, and incorporates Common Core methodology in developing students’ vocabulary acquisition. KidsSingVocab

What You Need:

Content vocabulary words from a reading selection, a science unit, or any lesson in your curriculum, or academic vocabulary words.

What You Do:

  1. Provide students with the list of vocabulary words and define the words as a class, in small groups, or individually. This vocabulary chart may help your students keep track of new vocabulary words and definitions.
  2. Have students work in small groups to create a jingle or song using the new words. To help them get started, give them ideas of how to make a parody of a simple tune, rhyme, or current song. Just for fun and inspiration, you may want to show students an educational song parody, such as this Solar System song based on the Sound of Music.
  3. Students sing the jingle or song in front of an audience.
  4. Students test their audience to see if they can recite the words and their definitions!

How do you encourage your students to use vocabulary words in context? We’d love to hear your ideas!

Contributing Writer

Lisa Vitarisi MathewsLisa Vitarisi Mathews is Evan-Moor’s executive editor. She has over 20 years’ experience in PreK–8 education, and has worked closely with teachers across the United States through Evan-Moor product training and workshops.

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