Concept and Content Review with Vocabulary Venn Diagrams

Tip: Concept and Content Review with Vocabulary Venn Diagrams

How do I do it?
On card stock or thick paper, teacher or students identify the key vocabulary for what they are studying, write it in clear lettering, and cut out the words (e.g. families: aunt, uncle, sister, brother, grandmother etc.; U.S. Constitution: rights, responsibilities, laws, article, amendment etc.; geometry: circle, square, perimeter, diameter, radius etc).  Using sorting circles of about 10 inch diameter made out of yarn or string (or buy a collapsable set of 15) tell individuals, pairs, or small groups of students to sort the words into 2 or 3 categories and into any overlapping areas when appropriate.  For example, with a double circle, students could place "brother" and "father" on one side because they are male, "mother" and "aunt" on the other as females, and "grandparents" in the overlapping space because they could be either gender.  As students work, encourage pairs to discuss their categories and explain why they placed certain words in locations in the Venn Diagram. 

Variations &Extensions:
To add challenge to those ready for it, add another circle and direct them to consider a new category or have pre-made categories on cards (e.g. right/wrong; easy/hard; 2 syllables/3 syllables etc.) that you place over a circle and ask them to start again placing their words into the new categories.  You can also save some additional words to add to their collection for them to categorize.  To scaffold student speech you can offer the following sentence frames on the board: "This goes here because..."  "This is different because..."  "This is the same because..."  As you circulate, asking questions, assess students for comprehension of the concepts underlying the key vocabulary as well as their oral English production and understanding. 


Download the Common Core Reading Vocabulary from the example.

Common Core ELA Speaking and Listening Standard 6
Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and communicative tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.

Common Core ELA Language Standard 5
Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.

Tricia Gallagher-Geurtsen
Tricia Gallagher-Geurtsen


1 Comment


February 24, 2013

Great! I have often had students use categories but normally with balloons or BINGO. I love this idea! You may like to check out for over 15 different ways to teach vocabulary in the class!

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