Using Metaphors to Support Vocabulary Teaching
One of the really fun things about writing posts about vocabulary is that it gives us a great excuse to browse some teacher and SLP blogs. Sometimes their creativity blows me away, not to mention how incredibly engaging and cute they are! I especially love the creative themes that they use to go way beyond the ‘Vivid Verbs’ concept.
Metaphors and visual imagery are both research-backed strategies for retaining new information. That’s important, especially as we move beyond core vocabulary and expose our AAC learners to a richer lexicon. Both can be used in a variety of games and activities and go a long way toward build engagement about new word learning. In the hands of an enthusiastic instructor, a metaphor can be developed into a theme that boosts the ‘fun factor,’ which is important when we’re trying to build the buzz around new word learning.
Here are some of our favorite metaphors that can be used as themes in vocabulary lessons. Are there some that might resonate with your AAC learners?
- Word Detective: Search out new words. Look for clues on word meanings.
- Word Catcher: Snag some new words in your net or web. Catch ‘em in your mitt for a sports-themed approach or add some Pokemon flair.
- Word Wizard: Change the root word into a different form of
that word with the flick of a wand or a magic word-changing spell.
- Word Safari: Go on the hunt for ways to use new words.
- Walk the Plank: Pirate themed materials are everywhere these days. If that works for your learners, have boring, over-used words ‘walk the plank.’ Then brainstorm some more suitable substitutes.
- Word Zombies: These words have no life in them.
- Powerhouse Words: These words knock out the boring competition.
- Word Graveyard: RIP to dull, lifeless words. ‘Said’ is dead!
- Tired Words: Put over-used words to bed and use vivid ones instead.
- Out of Gas: Replace the words that ran out of fuel. Rev up those engines with more interesting words.
- Vocabulary Vine: Grow a garden of new words.
From bulletin boards and posters to vocabulary notebooks and chants, there are lots of prAACtical uses for this imagery in your semantic instruction. Are there creative metaphors that you’ve run across? We’d love to hear about them
This post was written by Carole Zangari