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Dictionary Game

The Dictionary Game is a team activity that both builds student vocabulary and strengthens dictionary skills. In this game, student teams first compete with each other to find a word definition in the dictionary. The fastest team reads the definition, explains the word's part of speech, and uses the word correctly in a sentence. The other teams are allowed to challenge this response. Correct answers or challenges receive points.

The "hidden" value of this game is its ability to demonstrate the difference between a word's primary definition and its specific usage in the context of a subject area or reading. Students quickly learn that the primary definition of a word is not always its meaning in a specific context.

Steps to the Dictionary Game:

  1. Divide a class into teams of 4 or 5 members. Provide each student with a dictionary. Note: All students should receive the same edition of the same dictionary to ensure fair competition.

  2. Review the rules of the game. Students must act individually. They cannot assist team members touch anyone else's dictionary. When all members of the team have found the word, they stand.

  3. To start the game, read a sentence from a recently completed reading assignment and point out a specific word in the sentence for students to define. Student teams "race" to find the word in the dictionary.

  4. A team member from the group first finding the word reads all of its definitions and identifies its part of speech and number of syllables.

  5. The group then confers about which definition is most appropriate in the context of the sentence. The team reports their conclusion to the class.

  6. Other groups may challenge any or all parts of the first team's definition and description of the word. Teams receive points for correct definitions or successful challenges.

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