Thanks for following our series about using the new Mentoring Minds Resource Library to gain quick access to strategies and best practices included in our collection of best-selling educator resources. Previous posts featured the Parent and Family Engagement, Standards Mastery, Vocabulary Cards, and Social and Emotional Learning modules. This post describes using the Word Play Activities module to engage young minds in vocabulary-building activities that promote vocabulary development and motivate students to continue learning new words.

Vocabulary acquisition plays a vital role in student success. Imagine trying to navigate and function in a country that speaks a different language than your native language. For students, academic vocabulary can be much like trying to understand a foreign language.

The Word Play Activities module offers vocabulary activities, formative assessment ideas, teacher tools, and research information—all at the touch of a button or the swipe of a screen. The intent of this module is to guide teachers with methods to strengthen vocabulary instruction and student success. Specific targeted activities and resources are suggested for ELA, Math, and Science, both at the elementary and secondary levels.

Let’s take a closer look at how the subject-specific components in the Word Play Activities module help educators deliver engaging and meaningful instructional activities that are flexible and adaptable for all learning environments.


  • Research related to vocabulary acquisition, learning styles, academic vocabulary, and development highlights the importance of a strong foundation built with daily attention to vocabulary instruction.
  • Strategies to increase comprehension of texts are provided in an easy-to-read format. The section also offers suggestions of actions students may employ to increase vocabulary acquisition.
  • Formative assessment ideas are easily accessed for planning purposes or for “just in time” assessment of student understanding.
  • Graphic organizers are printable and offer teachers and students a visual way to approach vocabulary learning.
  • Literature lists feature books categorized by topics (such as figurative language, parts of speech, elements of fiction) that provide engaging contexts for vocabulary exploration.
  • Games and activities promote vocabulary development and review. Each activity is coded so educators can choose an appropriate activity for a particular grouping.
  • Teacher tools offer printable templates and gameboards that enhance vocabulary instruction.


  • Research related to the importance of academic vocabulary, the three tiers of words, the need to explore the structure of words, and the necessity for providing rich experiences with oral and written language is provided.
  • Vocabulary strategies and suggestions are offered for both the teacher and the student. These steps increase student engagement and success with academic vocabulary.
  • Formative assessments give educators a way to gauge student learning during instruction. The activities allow teachers to plan for additional instruction that meets student learning needs.
  • Graphic organizers can be printed and utilized to enhance vocabulary instruction with ideas for incorporating organizers in a variety of learning situations.
  • Word wall and vocabulary activities offer step-by-step, easy-to-follow instructions that build a connection between the printed word and its meaning. Each activity is coded with suggested groupings to support planning and preparation.
  • Teacher tools offer templates and gameboards that can be enlarged or printed to support vocabulary instruction.


  • Research related to vocabulary instruction, the development of academic vocabulary, the three tiers of words, and the various learning styles helps educators understand the need for an engaging approach to vocabulary instruction.
  • Vocabulary strategies and tips for teachers and students work to strengthen academic knowledge and increase student understanding of content.
  • Formative assessments provide information that supports teachers as they adjust instruction.
  • Graphic organizers challenge students to visually represent information, ideas, and relationships. These printable tools help students link new information with previously learned concepts.
  • Word wall and vocabulary activities promote the application of words in appropriate contexts. The activities offer suggested groupings and indicate if the activity is appropriate at a center or a workstation.
  • Teacher tools include printable templates and gameboards that support implementation.

The Word Play Activities module provides educators with a valuable resource to infuse vocabulary learning seamlessly into instruction. Take a few minutes to see how these engaging activities can support, challenge, and extend thinking about academic words—increasing success in content-area learning.

Next week, the final post in this series will explore the strategies and tips provided in our English Language Learners module that help teachers successfully address the needs of ELLs.