Adventures in Teaching, Part Two: the Case of the Vivacious Vocabulary

I’m starting to think that I might be reading and watching more Perry Mason* than is useful, because I keep catching myself trying to come up with titles in the style of Erle Stanley Gardner’s stories.

Then again, anyone who has been a teacher before knows that anything that can get your students’ attention is worth doing, no matter how goofy, even if it’s starting class by singing ‘Best Day Ever’ from SpongeBob SquarePants.** Of course, in the case of the latter, even the toughest of my kids always join in by the end 😉

In this lesson, I was creating differing degrees of a vocabulary lesson that shows students’ understanding of key culinary terms. What you see pictured above are the three stages of a standard word search, each reflecting a new level of student knowledge and understanding.

In the first level, students simply search for as many words as possible as listed in the word bank. At the second level, students search for the words listed in the word bank, and then write out definitions. At the final stage, students still have to find and define the words, but unlike at the other levels, they receive only hints for the words but no word bank.

What I enjoy about this lesson is how easily one can adapt it to any subject with a simple word substitution, and how quickly one can start to gauge student vocabulary understanding.

Below is a link to the Excel-based files:

culinary word search-and-define with three levels of difficulty

If you use the files, please let me know the results!


* Perry Mason:

** ‘Best Day Ever’ from Spongebob SquarePants:

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