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Dictionary (Grades 4-12)


SubjectLanguage Arts and Vocabulary Development


ObjectiveTo increase dictionary appreciation and vocabulary development.


Materials and Preparation1 dictionary per group, paper and pencils.


Student GroupingSmall groups of 5-8 students.


The Play:

  1. One student in each small group starts as “Dictionary Person.”

  2. One “Dictionary Person” finds a word in the dictionary that he/she feels the rest of the group doesn’t know and announces the word to the group. If someone knows the word, the “Dictionary Person” keeps trying until he/she finds a word that is unknown to all.

  3. Each person writes the word on the top of a piece of paper, creates a definition for it and signs his or her name.

  4. The “Dictionary Person” writes the word and real definition on a piece of paper. The definition may be shortened and paraphrased.

  5. All newly created definitions and the real definition are turned into the “Dictionary Person” to read over silently in order for them to become familiar with the wording of each definition.

  6. The “Dictionary Person” numbers the definitions and reads them aloud to the group.

  7. Each person writes the number of the definition they feel is the real definition on a scratch piece of paper.

  8. The “Dictionary Person” calls for the votes and tallies each person’s score. Peals of laughter may be heard when players discover whose definition they voted for.

  9. The dictionary is now passed to the left and the play starts again. The game is over when every player has been “Dictionary Person.”



  1. A player may earn 2 points each time someone votes for his/her definition.

  2. A player may earn 1 point if he/she votes for the “real” definition.

  3. The “Dictionary Person,” if no one votes for the real definition, gives 1 point to each person in the group.



Comments or Variations: This is a very popular game with everyone. The students become fascinated with new words in their treasure chest, the dictionary!


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