Dictionaries are one of the most overlooked resources and tools that can be easily found in a class. Most of the time children are reluctant to use them, even if they have a small version lost and unknown the back of their coursebook or even at the beginning of each unit. I find dictionaries extremely useful, not only to make them more autonomous and independent learners but also to avoid translation and for me, as a teacher, to have more time and less interruptions when helping some specific students while the rest are on a task.
That’s why I find so important to involve students in the process. Every Ken and Karen story comes with its own picture dictionary and here are some ways to use them:
– Cut and paste. In this case we give each student a copy of the dictionary and a copy of the pictures. They cut the pictures and have to match them with the corresponding word. It could be turned into a picture dictation, where students listen to the word, cut the picture and paste it on the correct place.
If students aren’t yet familiar with these words, you can have an A3 copy of the same and demostrate on the whiteboard while they do it at the same time.
– Cut from a magazine and paste. Here we give students magazines such as supermarket brochures and they have to find the picture, cut it out and paste it on the right place. This way, they make their own dictionary and we also test that they have learnt the words.
– Draw the picture. Their drawings will make a wonderful dictionary, we just have to keep in mind that not every child will be able to draw a recognizable drawing.
Let’s remember if children are involved in the process they will be more willing to use it!