The Four-Square Method: This method is a way of visually organizing the most important information about a word for easy reference and understanding. Have students write a vocabulary word across the top of a sheet of paper, then draw a box with four squares, labeling the squares “synonyms," “antonyms," “drawing," and “sentence." For the first two boxes students can research the answers, or they can come up with their own synonyms and antonyms for the word. In the “drawing" box they should draw a picture to represent the word, and in the “sentence" box they should invent a sentence using the vocabulary word.
Words in Context: Sometimes it can help to break up an unfamiliar word into parts, in order to make guesses about its meaning. This graphic organizer simply involves providing a few empty boxes so students can fill them in with the parts of a vocabulary word, such as its prefix, root, and suffix. Then they can make an educated guess as to what the word might mean, before looking it up in the dictionary. (It would be a good idea to combine this graphic organizer with the “Analyzing Word Parts" lesson plan above.)
Study Cards: Note cards are a great study tool, and work very well for teaching vocabulary. Vocabulary study cards should include the word on one side, and the definition, a sentence, and any other helpful words or examples on the other side. Encouraging students to design their note cards with colors and pictures can help engage them in the task and makes the cards more fun to use. Also, be sure to demonstrate the best way to use the cards for study, and to make it clear that the cards will not work unless students force themselves to come up with the answer on their own rather than just looking at the answer side of the card each time.