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Word Worms: Spelling or Vocab Game

Students challenge themselves to come up with new words based on vocabulary or spelling words! This brainstorming session results in colorful art.

  • Grade 3
    Grade 4
    Grade 5
  • 30 Minutes or Less
  • Directions

    1. This word game can be played in pairs, small groups, or with the whole class! Begin by having students create a setting for their word worms. On a large dry-erase board, draw a colorful scene with Crayola Dry-Erase Markers or Dry Erase Crayons. Draw a ground line with a few plants with staggered roots below ground along with a large worm that is crawling.
    2. Students choose a word from their current vocabulary or spelling list and write it inside the worm. That is the key word for the activity.
    3. On each plant, write what type of word will be written on its roots. Use a different color for each category, such as "person," "thing," "related word," "synonym," or "antonym."
    4. Fill in as many words on the roots as you can think of for each category. Challenge each other to see who can think of the most words that are appropriate. Simply use a facial tissue to erase and then rewrite.
  • Standards

    LA: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

    LA: Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, using formal English when appropriate to task and situation.

    LA: Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade level reading and content, choosing flexibly from an array of strategies.

    LA: Use words and phrases acquired through conversations, reading and being read to, and responding to texts, including using adjectives and adverbs to describe.

    VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of their experiences and ideas.

    VA: Select and use the qualities of structures and functions of art to improve communication of ideas.

  • Adaptations

    Students work in pairs to identify new and unfamiliar words from a current book they are reading. Research the meaning of each term, how many syllables make up the word and where the syllables break, how many long or short vowels are present, etc.

    Encourage students to use vocabulary words to write a poem focused on a current unit of study in social studies or science. Students illustrate their poems and display them in the classroom.

    Students use a classroom dictionary to look up the meaning of each vocabulary word on their current list. Students also include the guide words found on the dictionary page where the definition is located.

    Students use the Word Worms strategy to assist with learning new terms in a foreign language currently under study.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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