EL Support Lesson

Dictionaries & Definitions

In this lesson, students will practise defining words by making their own vocabulary cards. This lesson plan can be used alone or with the Mini Dictionaries lesson plan.
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for theMini Dictionaries!Lesson plan.
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This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for theMini Dictionaries!Lesson plan.

Students will be able to define vocabulary words.


Students will be able to define vocabulary in a sentence level context using sentence frames and visual support.

(5 minutes)
Teach Background Knowledge TemplateWrite Student-Facing Language Objectives ReferenceVocabulary Cards: Dictionaries & DefinitionsGlossary: Dictionaries & Definitions
  • Hold up the dictionary.
  • Randomly read a word and its definition. Choose a word familiar to students to read aloud with its definition.
  • Ask students to turn to a partner and share what they think a dictionary is.
(5 minutes)
  • Hand out the vocabulary cards to students.
  • Explain that a DictionaryIs a book that tells the meaning of words. Have students look at the picture of a dictionary on the vocabulary card and compare it to the real-life dictionary.
  • Tell students that the meanings of words are their Definitions. Open up the dictionary and show students where different words and their definitions are listed. Have students compare this to the picture on the vocabulary card.
  • Point out that the vocabulary cards have Drawings, or pictures, to help define the words. The dictionary may or may not have drawings.
(10 minutes)
  • Have students look at the vocabulary cards. Show them how to share the meaning of each word using the sentence frame:
    • "____Means ____."
  • Repeat the meanings of each word together using the sentence frame.
  • Show students a classroom object, such as a book or a chair.
  • On the board, model how to make a vocabulary card, complete with a definition and drawing, for the word.
  • Have students turn to a partner and share the meaning of the word using the sentence frame.
(10 minutes)
  • Have students work in pairs to create their own vocabulary cards for classroom objects.
  • Hand out four cards to each pair. Have them work together to create definitions and drawings for each word.
  • After finishing their cards, have each pair share their cards with another pair, using the sentence frame to share the definitions.


  • Have students work in a teacher-led small group.
  • Have students use just pictures to create their definitions.


  • Have students write sentences using their vocabulary words.
  • Challenge students to share their sentences with another pair.
(2 minutes)
  • Ask students to share one of their definitions by using the sentence frame: "____Means ____."
(3 minutes)
  • Call on pairs to volunteer to share their vocabulary cards.

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