Using writing to help pupils develop and apply what they have learned about vocabulary

These teaching suggestions use the context of writing to help pupils develop what they have learned about vocabulary and apply it in the own work. They can be adapted to your own teaching schemes and lesson sequences.

Teaching approaches

  • Ask pupils to write short sentences using a common word with both negative and positive connotations, for example, I was so happy I could fly; A large, fat fly landed on his cake. Whiteboards could be used for this activity to share the best examples with the class.
  • Encourage pupils to experiment with techniques in their own writing, such as using emotive language when writing persuasively or using irony to achieve an effect.
  • Ask pupils to write about a text, demonstrating their understanding of the author’s intention in their choice of vocabulary, for example Seamus Heaney’s Mid-term Break.
  • Illustrate the link between word choice and writer's viewpoint further by exploring word-webs on non-fiction writing. For instance, if pupils are writing an information article on sharks, they may choose to import a layer of bias into the article by calling sharks noun phrases such as these glistening, perfectly-formed killing machines or these savage, brutal and indiscriminate killing machines.