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Aussie Mate! The Australian Dictionary

written by: Faye Angeli Vitan • edited by: Linda M. Rhinehart Neas • updated: 8/2/2012

This article presents an activity that aims to enrich the vocabulary of the students connected to facts and information about Australia. The activity can be modified to fit ESL students of different ability-levels, ages and interests.

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    Lesson Plan on Creating Australian Dictionary


    • To create a picture dictionary about Australia
    • To create sentences and learn new words related to Australia


    • blank sheets of paper
    • scissors, markers, pens, ruler and glue
    • informational texts about Australia such as travel brochures, magazines and books


    Pre-Writing: What I Know

    1. On a sheet of paper, write the letters A to Z. This is called the alphabet sheet.
    2. For each letter, write a corresponding object, person, place or fact that is connected to Australia. Example, "A" for aborigine.
    3. Fill out as many words as you can for each letter. There is no pressure to complete the list.

    For high-performing students, the teacher can set a time limit for accomplishing this activity.

    Drafting, Revising and Editing: What I Need to Know

    1. Look at the informational texts about Australia to complete the alphabet sheets.
    2. The teacher will check the entries of the students for each letter. This is to ensure that their entries are connected to Australia in terms of culture, lifestyle, history, geography, etc. Replace words that are not related to Australia.
    3. After all the entries are checked, students find pictures and related images to the words that the students have written.
    4. Cut, print or draw these pictures and paste them on blank sheets of paper in alphabetical order. Only one picture should be placed for each page.
    5. Label each picture with their names.
    6. Write a sentence for each word and picture.

    610px-Koala climbing tree 

    The sentences may depend on the ability level of the students. However, it is preferable that the sentences are about the students' experiences or facts and information about Australia.

    Publishing and Presentation: Things I Can Share

    1. After revising and editing the sentences, design a book cover for the dictionary.
    2. Prepare to present the dictionary in class.

    Types of Presentation:

    For Large Classes

    • Assign only particular letters to the students. For example, one student can present A to C and the others will present 2 to 3 letters.
    • Divide the class into groups and let the groups decide what words they will present in class.

    For Small Classes

    • Each student can present half or all of the letters in his or her dictionary.
    • Give a letter and ask each student to share what he or she wrote in his or her dictionaries.

    Additional Tips

    • Assure younger students that it is acceptable if they have entries similar to their classmates. This is because some students tend to be upset when they have the same answer as their classmate. Point out that their sentences should be different.
    • The presentations can be done as part of circle time for younger students for a couple of days. This would help the class to appreciate each presentation.
    • After the presentation, ask the students what was their favorite word in their dictionary and let them explain why. This would link the word to their personal experiences

    Photo Credit: Wikicommons

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