I have started to collect together lots of different ideas for warming up words. My children have very limited vocabulary so it essential that new words are introduced and played with on a regular basis. Pie Corbett suggests 5 new words are introduced weekly. Even though my children mainly speak English as a second language I never set a ceiling on the words used as I want my children to become familiar with the nuances of the language.
See the Picture
This is an imaging game, designed to help children use the images in their own minds and attach words to them.
Ask all children to create an image in their heads. This might be a setting in a story they are writing, something that they are writing a poem about or an experience that the whole class have had on a trip. Ask them to hold the image in their head and then ask:
- What can you see?
- What colours stand out most?
- How does it feel?
- Walk around your image. What other things do you see?
Children then share with a partner their image and things that they noticed. Finally jot down a list of words and phrases form their image.
When children start this keep the walk around the image short and build up what they do over time.
How does it go together?
With the children generate a list of nouns and then a separate list of verbs and to put a noun and verb together in an unusual way. Looking out of my window I can see tree, grasses, street light, road sign and a randomly selected list of verbs rushed, slithered, dreamed, sat, wheeled…
Now I can start to put them together:
the streetlight dreamed, the grasses rushed etc.
The children can then go on to create sentences choosing the ones that most appeal to them. The sentences could be collected and made into poems.
You could play the same game with adjectives and nouns.
This game is based around vocabulary generation and using the vocabulary. It is a game that I first read about in What Rhymes with Secret by Sandy Brownjohn printed in 1982.. Start the children off with a statement such as:
The birds swooping in the clear blue sky.
Sky like an azure gem.
Gem of an idea in the air
Here, the children must take the last word and start off the next line/statement with it. It demands that children think and use words flexibly.
Using paint colour samples (just ask nicely at your local DIY store) children can write shades of meaning below a key word.
Clines is another activity where shades of meaning can be discussed and then ordered from least to most e.g. sad, morbid, gloomy, depressed…
A really handy list of feeling words can be downloaded from the Primary Resources website:
Choose a book. Ask for a number – this gives you a page to turn to. Now ask for a number – this gives you the line. Then ask for a small number – this will select a word. The children then have 15 seconds to write a sentence using the selected word. Then use the same sort of process to randomly select two or three words – can they make a sentence using the words… Be ruthless on capital letter, sense and full stop.
Use the animal list to create alliterative sentences – one per animal, e.g. the tiny tiger tickled the terrified terrapin’s two toes with torn tinsel.
To warm up the brain and get into a creative mood – give the children a topic and ask them to write as much as they can in say, one minute. Time them and ask them to count the number of words then try again with another topic. They should write as rapidly as possible. This limbers up and frees up the mind.
Poems and reading poetry is one of the best ways to play with words. Lots of ideas for playing with poems in the next blog!