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One of my goals this year is to learn and proficiently use more vocabulary words .  So I created this fun VOCAwords Story Board concept to help me along the way.  If you have kids who struggle with vocabulary words for school, I think this would be perfect for them too.

My belief is that when education is engineered on FUN will have a longer lifecycle than those that are boring and repetitive.  No one remembers the boring stuff.  It's the fun stuff that sticks in our heads.  I made my VOCAword as a portable folder because I want to hang it in my kitchen as well as to take along.

I hope you enjoy this and let me know how it works for kids or even yourself.

To start you need:
folder
colored construction paper
masking tape (or laminating sheets and a laminator)
pen
hard and soft Velcro
scissors (titanium, nonstick scissors are awesome)
optional items are:
dry erase marker















Step 1: Making the Story Board

The storyboard is where all your vocabulary words will go on.  Make is as creative as you like.  You can opt for an under the sea theme or outer space.  Use your imagination.  If you want a more basic outside scenery then you can follow my instructions below.

1.  Cut the edge off the file folder that is sticking out.
2.  Align together and cut a sheet of blue paper to match the top portion of the file folder, app 2/3 of the top inside folder. Use masking tape in long strips to hold down the blue construction paper.  Make sure to fully cover the blue paper in tape. Repeat for to get another piece of blue paper on the other side.
3.  Fold  and cut a sheet of green paper in half. Then place both pieces together and cut out a soft curved shape on the edge of the papers.  Use masking tape hold the green paper as down on the lower portion of the file folder.  Be sure to cover all of the green paper with masking tape.
4. Cut 7 long hard (rough) Velcro stripes and secure them to the story board as shown.

Step 2: Making the Vocabulary Icons

This is the fun part; my absolute favorite part of this project is creating the icons where the vocabulary words are used on.  Again, use your imagination.  If you are doing the under the sea theme, get some fish, octopus and even sunken treasures and mermaids going.  Outer space can have the stars, sun, moon, even aliens and UFOS.  Remember the more creative your vocabulary icons, the better chance you are going to use this and learn new words in the process. 
I opted to make: tree, cat, girl, pick-up truck, sun, and airplane.
The directions for making a vocabulary icon tree is below:
1. Draw the outline of a tree on brown paper. 
2. Write out a vocabulary word to make sure it fits.
3. Cut out the tree.
4. Add the definition of the word in the back.
4. Using masking tape, cover the tree fully front and back.
5. Cut off the excess masking tape.
6. Add a piece of soft Velcro to the back, on the definition side.

I wrote my vocabulary words onto my icons but you can also use a dry erase marker to on top of the masking tape and it will work great as you can change the words as your vocabulary grows.

 

Step 3: Usng Your VOCAWords


Let's make it a game.
1. Place this board where you will see it often.
2.  Every time you pass, look at an icon and the word on it.  Think of what it means.  Try to use it in a sentence that would fit into the theme of the story board you have going. 
3. Move that icon around within the storyboard.
4.  Pick a different icon every time and have fun with it.


I purposely used the word "penurious" on the pink girl icon because I tend to think myself as penurious at time since I will often hold off on buying something until I find a coupon on it or it's on a super sale.  My way to remember penurious as a sentence is:
The penurious girl prancerised on top of an old pick-up truck after waiting three years before buying a Clifford sized cat for fifty percent off at the pet store.
(If you need a good laugh, check out prancerise on youtube. lol)

Here's another example using excrescence (sun icon):
(Singing) You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me grow excrescences all over my body. Oh, that don't make me happy when I'm with you.  But that's okay, because you are my sunshine, my only sunshine.

Okay, so these examples are cheesier than mac and cheese but I hope you get the idea.  The funnier, the sentences or story, the more it involves the senses and the more you connect this to other things (like prancerise or a song), the more likely you will remember penurious and excrescence.   

The only thing left to do it to use these vocabulary words in the real world.  Let me know what you come up with.
 

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Bio: I'm a long term substitute special education teacher who is studying to be a school psychologist and a BCBA. :-) I used to be known ... More »
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