Even though knowing the right vocabulary can help students do well in class and improve their test scores, getting them to remember the definitions they hear in class or read during homework can be a challenge. But when students are asked to demonstrate the meaning of a word, they develop multiple mental connections that help them remember the term later.
That’s why making a video can help cement important terms with students — the combination of visuals, music and text make vocabulary more memorable. Here’s a lesson plan that you can use to help your students remember important definitions with video.
Song: “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor” by Julia Brown
Grade and subject recommendations
This assignment would work best for middle and high school language arts literacy classes (though we offer some suggestions for other subjects below).
Here are a few ways to modify a lesson involving vocabulary videos to either extend the assignment or adapt it to other subjects:
- Other subjects: Create a subject-specific vocabulary video, defining terms for math, science, or any other course of study.
- Collecting student work: For younger students (or for classrooms with limited technological access), let students illustrate their words on paper and then take photos of students’ work. You can then create an Animoto video yourself and share students’ work on your class website or at the start of a lesson, as English teacher Nicole Schnibben does in the video below.
Song: “1 in 4” by The Wandas
At the start of a vocabulary unit, assign each student one vocabulary word, and have them create a video illustrating the term. Videos should include:
- Vocabulary word
- Part of speech
- Several images or video clips that relate to their term
- A short sentence using the vocabulary word
Remind students that they should carefully consider their video style and music choice to make sure they serve the vocabulary word. (For example, the video below for “limpid” has a light, clear style and song that matches the definition.)
Song: “Sunrise at the Foot of the Mountain” by Steve Booke
Have students email you a link to the assignment or upload their video to Dropbox or your class Google Drive so you can access their project.
After the assignment
Assessment: Collect students’ videos and grade them based on the criteria above. You can also create a rubric to detail exactly what you expect students to do.
Videos as learning tools: The vocabulary videos can be shared during class or posted on your class website or wiki to help your students learn the terms for your unit.