Vocabulary activities are the gift that keeps on giving. As far as classroom must-haves, they rank right up there with a timer and sticky notes. Due to their inherent versatility, thematic vocabulary activities can be used for early finishers, class competitions, or independent work when quiet time is needed. Using holiday word work in the classroom is a festive way to celebrate while remaining focused on language and literacy. You can create the four vocabulary activities below yourself, or download the no-prep worksheets from Literacy in Focus on TpT.
St. Patrick’s Day A-Z
A-Z is similar to the game Scattergories. Students are required to think of a word related to St. Patrick’s Day for each letter of the alphabet. Add an extra twist of fun by assigning point values to each letter. Set a timer and see who can earn the most points! A-Z is unique because students are given the chance to showcase their creativity while tapping into higher levels of critical thinking. Quick side note: if you’re playing in teams with your entire class, only count unique words. If teams have the same word, points are canceled out. Be prepared for a fun time! Students love this game!
St. Patrick’s Day Word Scramble
You can’t go wrong with a word scramble activity. Word scrambles focus primarily on spelling skills, making them extremely useful for learning new words. Some of the words related to St. Patrick’s Day will fall into the tier-three category. Tier-three terms are content specific, meaning they are limited to narrow knowledge domains. Generally, tier-three terms have a low-frequency of use, and are more commonly encountered in informational text. Ideally, with the incorporation of a handful of tier-three terms, the holiday word scramble walks the line of challenging and fun. The following St. Patrick’s Day word list is challenging enough to be considered fun, but easy enough to avoid frustration.
St. Patrick’s Day Word Search
Does anything quiet a class faster than passing out a word search? Throw in highlighters and start a timer, and you might even get sustained silence! A to Z Teacher Stuff has a word search creator tool that will allow you to create your own custom worksheets. It also gives the option to only include forward facing words, which is hard to come by in most internet-based word search generators. If you have the time, creating your own word search can be oddly therapeutic. In any case, it’s hard to find a student that will turn down their nose at a word search. Plus, it’s festive and doesn’t include sugar!
St. Patrick’s Day Wordsmith
The St. Patrick’s Day wordsmith game requires students to spell as many words as they can using the letters in Ireland. Manipulating the letters to form new words strengthens cognitive abilities and overall literacy skills. Word work provides students with opportunities to investigate and understand the patterns in words, making possible independent discoveries that will reinforce meanings and application.
Word games give students a chance to explore and play with language in a low-stakes environment.
As for St. Patrick’s Day, or any other holiday, there are dozens of different words that can be substituted for the word-in-a-word focus term. In addition to celebrating a holiday, themed vocabulary activities have the potential to enhance and improve the following skills and behaviors in students:
- social interactions
- critical thinking
Along with skills and behaviors listed above, themed vocabulary activities are fun! They also work well in combination with reading comprehension activities. Click here to read more about four different St. Patrick’s Day reading comprehension activities that you can create yourself! Whether it’s a friendly class competition or an independent assignment for early finishers, themed vocabulary activities will add variety to the school day while highlighting the current holiday.