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Teacher: Debbie Glaberman who teaches at Heritage Middle School in Wake Forest, NC. Debbie Glaberman can be contacted at

Name of Best Practice: Round Robin Sharing & Caring Vocabulary Assignment

Rationale/Purpose of Event: To introduce vocabulary applicable to health and/or physical education classes.

Suggested Grade Level: 6-8

Materials Needed: Vocabulary lists, index cards, pencils, text books, dictionaries, bell, buzzer, or other "time is up device", stopwatch or watch with a second hand.

Round Robin Sharing & Caring Vocabulary Assignment

Each student receives a teacher prepared list of vocabulary words relevant to the subject(s) being taught. Textbooks and/or dictionaries are placed at each student's desk. Each student also receives one index card. There is a different vocabulary word on each card. (If you have 20 vocabulary words and there are 30 students in your class, 10 words will be repeated in your deck of cards.)

Each student will look up the definition of the word on the index card he/she received. They will then copy the definition onto the index card. The teacher should emphasize the importance of students using their best handwriting (printing). (Allow ample time for this process...I usually allow about 2 minutes for this task.)

Each student will then copy his/her word and definition into his/her notebook. (Our school promotes 2-column notes, but you may use whichever format applies to your school's procedures.) I usually allow about 1 minute for this task. The teacher sounds the bell (or other device) to indicate that time is up.

The teacher will indicate where (to whom) each person is to hand his/her card. This pattern will be repeated throughout the remainder of this activity, so it is important to be succinct with directions (e.g., please do not throw cards, pass to the same person each time, etc.) and walk students through the "passing pattern."

Once each student has a new card, he/she will copy the word and definition into his/her notebook. When time is up, the teacher will ring the bell to indicate that it is time to pass the card to the next person/receive a new card.

If a student receives a card that has a vocabulary word on it that he/she has already taken notes on, then that student gets a "rest period." (It is important to prepare your deck of cards strategically so that students do not get several "rest periods" in a row!) Complete this process until all students have entered every word and definition into their notebooks. Review words and definitions.

My students thought this was a creative way to introduce our vocabulary words, and they expressed that it was considerably less tedious and boring than looking up a long list of words individually! This activity also keeps students very focused on the words and completing their assignments!


Present this lesson in the computer lab. Rather than pass cards around, each student will enter his/her word onto his/her own computer, then advance to other students' individual computers to enter the word that has been assigned to them. Students may print out their completed vocabulary list/definitions at the completion of the activity.

Have students work in pairs or as teams.

Teaching Suggestions/Tips:

Make sure directions are clear/specific.

Know your students' abilities...and circulate around the room, so that you may allotted time, as necessary.

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Posted on PEC: 8/17/2012 and has received 58 votes.

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