This new book has a wealth of vocabulary ideas!  I used one of them today and it was hugely successful, so I wanted to share it:

Which One Doesn’t Belong?

The activity has the teacher making sets of four words, one of which doesn’t belong.  My bank of questions included primarily reading/writing terms, but the activity lends itself to other content areas, including science, math and social studies.


  1.  Organize students in two rows (teams).
  2. Each student goes head to head with his opponent on an item.
  3. If neither of those two know the answer, pick a number between one and ten, and whichever team gets the number right can try a guess at the answer.
  4. Each item is worth one point, and the team with the highest score wins.

The BEST part of the activity was the modification I made to the game afterwards, when I sent my students to their science textbooks and journals to assemble more test items for another game.  I allowed them to work independently, with one partner, or with several. They were very motivated. Listening to them agonize over which odd item to include gave me lots of information about their learning in science.

Tomorrow, when we play the game again using THEIR items, it will give me even more feedback.  Will their test items hold up under the scrutiny of their peers?  Can they justify why they decided to include a particular item?  I’m excited to see how it plays out!