Here are some fun activities to help students make vocabulary connections and develop semantic organization.
Using the “Connect It” category wheels students categorize animals according to their habitats. Students connect relevant items to the home category at the center of the wheel, using a length of ribbon/string/bootlace.
The habitat categories included in this pack are:
farm, jungle, ocean, desert, garden, pond, forest, African safari (grasslands), domestic pets, Arctic.
“CONNECT IT” CATEGORY WHEELS
To make the wheels:
Print pages 4-13 onto cardstock. Cut around the large circles; cut out the notches.
You will also need a length of ribbon, string or a bootlace at least 52 inches [130cm] long.
Fix the ribbon/bootlace in the center of the back of the card and pass it through the long notch so that it emerges from the central picture on the front of the card (see thumbnail photo on right).
Directions for the “Connect It” activity:
Wind the ribbon over the face of the card from the central category picture to an item from that category. Pass the ribbon through the adjoining notch, bringing it back up behind the central picture and passing it back through the large notch to the front of the card again, ready to connect to another item.
Repeat until all items in the category have been found.
You can make this activity self-correcting by placing colored dots on the reverse side of the wheel above the notches of relevant items. The student can turn over the card to check that the ribbon has passed through the correct notches...
....although, beware!... the students' own experiences are likely to influence their perceptions of connections within categories, so be prepared for some discussion and negotiation about what belongs where!
This pack also includes CATEGORY SORTING MATS and ANIMAL CARDS for each of the categories. There are 10 sorting mats and 88 animal cards in this pack – some animal cards may fit more than one category. Students can practice expressive language skills by explaining 'unexpected' choices!
Some suggestions for use of the sorting mats and cards:
1. Spread animal cards on table and students sort onto picture mats.
2. Attach a small piece of magnetic tape to the cards. Secure category picture mats on small cookie sheets or magnetic whiteboards. Hide animal cards around the room. Allocate each student a picture mat; students search for animals that belong to their category. The magnetic tape will ensure the cards will stick to the picture mat while the student searches for more items.
3. Play Bingo: Allocate each student a habitat category picture mat. According to the number of players, place a selection of relevant animal cards face-down on table. Students take turns to flip over a card. If the animal belongs in his category, he places it on his mat. If the item does not belong, he returns it face-down on the table. The first player to place five animals on his mat is the winner.
4. Sort animal cards according to other criteria, eg. insects, animals with four legs, animals that can fly, etc. The student thinks of other animals to fit his ’new’ categories.