Name of Strategy: Word Snapshot


  • Rationale:
• A Word Snapshot is a tool students can use to help them remember the meanings and uses of vocabulary words. I use the word snapshot because my students need to be able to “own” these words and make them a part of their own working vocabularies. The students have to use the vocabulary words in ways that are meaningful to them and so each snapshot is unique to the student, again, helping them to “own” the word.

  • Courses in which it could be implemented:
• Word Snapshots can be used in any subject with any vocabulary and can be combined with other strategies such as visualizing. This strategy is actually similar to the Four Square Vocabulary Approach but is done at the end of a unit when students are familiar with the vocabulary after working with it in a number of ways.

  • Diverse learners:
• Word Snapshots are very individualized in that each person’s snapshot of a word is going to be unique to them. For example, my word snapshot for the word blue may have a connection to a time with I was feeling blue, while another person’s snapshot for the word blue may have a connection to the sad music we call Blues.

  • Procedure:
1. At the end of a unit of study, give students the word snapshot organizer to fill in. Do the first one together.
2. Have students write the term in the center box---for example, blue.
3. In the first box in the top left, have students draw a picture of the word blue (in this case using the word blue to mean sad).
4. In the second box in the top right, have students make a connection the word blue that will help them remember/understand what the word means.
5. In the third box in the lower left, have students write a synonym for the word blue—i.e. sad, forlorn, depressed.
6. In the last box in the lower right, have students write an antonym for the word blue—i.e. happy, joyful, energetic.
7. Do several different snapshots together, then release them to do it in groups, partners, and finally on their own.
  • Potential Issues:
• Students often have difficulty coming up with antonyms and synonyms for words. I have thesauruses available for student use. We have practiced using a thesaurus before, now they can apply that knowledge.

  • References
Gretchen Courtney and Associates, professional development 2008
*Teacher Binder Resources
• Word Snapshot Organizer