Vocabulary Lesson Plan

Vocabulary Lesson Plan

There’s a difference between memorizing a definition and learning what a word means and how to use it.

ELA Common Core Standards Covered

Here are some common core standards that apply.

  • L.9-10.3 Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening.
  • L.9-10.2c  Spell correctly. Knowledge of Language.
  • L.9-10.4b Identify and correctly use patterns of word changes that indicate different meanings or parts of speech (e.g., analyze, analysis, analytical; advocate, advocacy).
  • L.9-10.4c Consult general and specialized reference materials (e.g., dictionaries, glossaries, thesauruses), both print and digital, to find the pronunciation of a word or determine or clarify its precise meaning, its part of speech, or its etymology.

Vocabulary Lesson Plan Preparation

It doesn’t take a wordsmith to properly prepare for this vocabulary lesson plan.

1. List vocabulary words on the board.

2. Instruct students to copy down the words, leaving at least 5 spaces in between. For some reason, the five spaces in between motivates them. It’s as if they’re thinking, “Finally something different than the same old crap Mr. Boringteach has been doing all year.”

3. Pronounce each word and have students repeat each word. There’s no use in learning a word’s definition and sounding like an idiot trying to pronounce it. My mother had a suitor when I was in high school who mispronounced words all the time. He was one of the nicest men I’ve ever met. His mispronunciations, however, were the subject of many a sardonic slight.

4. Look up each word as a class and write the definition on the board, or instruct students to copy definitions from the board or a dictionary.

5. Explain the meaning of each word, providing relevant examples. Your students will think you’re cool for actually teaching them the words. OK, maybe cool is too strong a word.

Vocabulary Lesson Plan Procedures

For each word, students will provide the following:

  1. definition
  2. part of speech
  3. example
  4. synonym
  5. antonym
  6. picture or symbol
  7. sentence

Example: dog (n):

  1. a four-legged furry creature that enjoys licking itself and barking
  2. examples: my dog fluffy, poodle, Scooby Doo
  3. synonyms: mutt, canine, pooch
  4. antonym: cat
  5. picture: draw a dog
  6. sentence: Mark Twain’s dog lost two of its four legs in a circular saw incident in Santo Domingo.


You’re probably wondering how in the world you’re going to grade all this work. Here are some suggestions for grading the work without having to cancel your weekend plans for the next several months.

  • spot check two or three words
  • grade only the sentences or some other category
  • participate in a vocabulary picture or sentence challenge
  • don’t grade them, but allow them to be used on a quiz

Teaching Vocabulary

If they don’t learn it, you’ve wasted your time. These vocabulary teaching strategies will help.
Effective Vocabulary Strategies
Teaching Greek and Latin Roots
Games for Teaching Vocabulary
Vocabulary Lesson Plan

Share This: