Some students, especially younger ones, can have trouble with vocabulary words. Finding methods to help them remember and understand deeper concepts can also be difficult. But we know that combining ideas with images can give kids a handy way to connect with your content.

So how to do that?

Have kids create Word Pictures.

I’m not sure really what else to call them but to me a Word Picture is a vocabulary word spelled out but in a shape that represents the word. Democracy might be spelled out in the shape of a US flag. Militarism might be spelled out in the shape of a gun or bomb. The idea is that kids associate and remember the meaning with the word with the shape of the graphic created.

The first step is to select which words and ideas you want to have kids focus on. You want to keep the number fairly low, somewhere between five to seven per unit.

Second, make sure that your students have a clear sense of definitions and understanding of those words. (It seems like the best way to do this is through both small group and then whole group instruction.)

Finally, have kids create their word pictures. This could be simple paper and pencil, crayons or perhaps an online tool such as Tagxedo. Students will select their own shapes so you’ll have a lot of variation. Which is a good thing since we know that when kids work to help create their own knowledge, it have a better chance of sticking.

Give Word Pictures a shot – let me know what you think.

And have fun!

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