Teaching Vocabulary -- Ideas and Resources from Recent Coffee Break

Hello colleagues, Thanks to those who joined our Coffee Break focused on teaching vocabulary facilitated by Susan Roberts, moderator for the LINCS Teaching & Learning Community. There were some great ideas as well as tools and resources shared during this meeting.

  1. Using Quizlet.com for flipped instruction
  2. Creating a word wall for the classroom (easy to do in person!) or use Padlet.com or Jamboard.Google.com for remote classrooms
  3. Paying attention to multiple meaning vocabulary in math class
  4. Having students use post it notes to label things in the home
  5. Using the Frayer Model -- here’s a link to a template https://www.theteachertoolkit.com/index.php/tool/frayer-model
  6. Teaching word parts, i.e., roots, suffixes, prefixes
  7. Joining https://www.membean.com/ -- which is fee-based
  8. Drawing from Esther Park’s vocabulary resources; she uses lots of emojis! https://www.mrspark.org/
  9. Using cartoons to teach phrasal verbs
  10. Drawing from the LINCS Teaching Skills That Matter toolkit https://lincs.ed.gov/state-resources/federal-initiatives/teaching-skills-matter-adult-education
  11. Using online tools to identify Tier 2 words -- 1) achievethecore.org and 2) http://www.lextutor.ca/vp/eng/
  12. Using learners’ dictionaries – good for ALL learners not only those learning English; these dictionaries include audio, so learners can listen to the pronunciation of words and lots of example sentences -- 1) Merriam-Webster https://learnersdictionary.com/ and 2) Longman https://www.ldoceonline.com/

Thanks again to all those who participated and shared what has worked for them when teaching vocabulary! If anyone would like to add to this list, please do!

Take care, Susan Finn Miller

Moderator, English Language Acquisition CoP


Hello colleagues, In the list of resources from our Coffee Break, I forgot to add information about the Vocabulary Workouts that I created. These workouts focus on the 60 academic words (Tier 2 words) from Sublist 1 of the Academic Word List (AWL). The AWL was devised by Victoria University professor/researcher, Averil Coxhead, and is based on corpus studies of the most common academic words in English across academic disciplines. The workouts are designed to give learners examples of how we use the words (e.g., the collocations that are common) and practice using the academic words in speaking and in writing in personally meaningful ways. When I'm teaching intermediate and advanced learners, we focus on one academic word drawn from the materials we are using in class each day.  If anyone would like to have a copy of the workouts, please contact me by email at susanfinn_miller@iu13.org. 


Coxhead, A. (2000). A new academic word list. TESOL Quarterly, 34(2): 213-238.

Coxhead, A. (2011). The Academic Word List ten years on: Research and teaching implications. TESOL Quarterly, 45(2):355 - 362.

Take care, Susan Finn Miller

Moderator, English Language Acquisition CoP

Greetings all,

Some of you may be familiar with Elizabeth Claire's Easy English NewsIt's a monthly newspaper written in simple English for adult & young adult immigrants as well as struggling readers.  It is a rich resource, with current events, civics, and other engaging content that I have used for years!

Did you know they now offer a digital version of the publication too?  Instructors can provide students with a link to view it on their own devices, or they can each download a PDF.  It has been a great tool for my Intermediate and Advanced ELL's while teaching virtually, (though the PDF is more user friendly on Apple devices).

Targeted vocabulary is in bold print, defined in context on the last page, and the monthly crossword can be completed digitally too. 

Monthly bonus features for instructors are the Teacher's Guide, supplemental quizzes, audio recordings of key articles on YouTube, and supplemental links, which arrive in your inbox, for ease of use. 

Check it out for yourself at: www.easyenglishnews.com.

Happy reading!