You Oughta Know About . . .Vocabulary Go Fish!

Ahoy, there fellow bloggers! I am SO super excited to be linking up with Jasmine McClain from Buzzing with Mrs. McClain for her "You Oughta Know . . ." blog hop. It is my first and ever blog hop. Woo-Hoo!!! I feel so honored to be a part of this blog hop and community of teachers!

This past year has been a huge blessing for me in the teaching world. I was able to get a teaching position in an awesome school district closer to my home while still teaching my favorite grade, third grade! Oh, I should also mention that I have some cool TOAs (Teacher On Special Assignments) in my school who bring back a wealth of strategies and knowledge to share with each school site's teachers. The Reading TOA in my school, Wendy, is just truly UH-MAZING! I tell her I need something or want to try something and she is on it! No questions asked. 

Well, this past week, I told her I wanted some new vocabulary games I wanted to incorporate during Team Tasks with my kiddos. I usually use vocabulary match, vocabulary bingo, vocabulary Headbandz (which I blogged about back in September), and vocabulary charades. But . . . you know, after 10 different selections stories, the games start to seem the same. Even though my kiddos are perfectly content with the ones I already introduced, I will tell you that I was NOT! I, myself, was getting super bored and just wanted something new that I did not know about or have heard of before.  Well . . . ask and it shall be delivered! She introduced me to "Vocabulary Go Fish" and printed all of my current theme's vocabulary in color & in card stock. 

NOW, we all know the original game. BUT, in case you don't, I got you covered!

Step 1: Each person gets 5 cards, you call on someone to see if they have a card that matches yours. If they do . . . wonderful . . . you get to put down both cards. If you don't however, the person you picked says "Go Fish" and you take a card from the middle pile. The person with zero cards left wins the game. 

(Below is a picture of my kids distributing 5 cards to each person on their team and placing the remaining extra cards on the middle of the table)
Step 2: You call on a classmate in your team. You ask them for either the definition to a vocabulary word you have OR you ask if they have the vocabulary word to the definition that you have. 

The SMART part that Wendy, my wonderful Reading TOA thought of: "How do kids know if they matched their cards correctly?"

Step 3: YOUR role: facilitate and make sure that students are playing fair, following directions, and actually using the definition and vocabulary words VERSUS just looking at the emoticons/emojis.

 Step 4: I usually walk around with a clipboard to make anecdotal notes of my students. In this scenario, I use it for teamwork, knowing their vocabulary words and their definitions, and participation.
 Step 5: If a student happens to have a word and the definition in their own deck of cards, you have them share it with their tables and ask them to read and define the vocabulary word. The table checks the matching emoticons and the kid is good to go! (This came up when we played).

Why do I spend so much time on vocabulary? I think that I grew up being told that the more words I recognized and knew, the more I would expand my reading skills and speaking language. As an ELL student myself, I found this to be true. I may not have remembered every single vocabulary word that my teachers and parents have taught me, but it came in handy during my SATs and during college courses when I remembered seeing and hearing them. It eventually went from being in my short term memory to my long term memory. Now, with the invention of text messages and a world full of hashtags; more so than ever, I feel like my students need to be exposed to their vocabulary words more than just for their selection tests. 

AND, please please please don't forget to hop on over to fellow teacher bloggers for some  more "You Oughta Know . . . "


  1. I love Vocabulary Go Fish! This is such great practice. I could definitely do this with my first graders. My colleagues and I just talked about trying to find fun ways to practice vocabulary words. Thanks so much for this idea and thank you for joining the blog hop!

    Buzzing With Mrs. McClain

    1. Thanks, Jasmine again for inviting me to be a part of this blog hop! Your kiddos will definitely like this game. =)

  2. We play Place Value Go Fish so it would be really neat to incorporate vocabulary go fish into our classroom! Thanks for the great idea!

    1. OOohh...Place-value Go Fish sounds super neat! I will have to try that too. I like that you are incorporating it across subjects/content. =)

  3. I love incorporating games with learning. Glad to see others out there that find the time to do it. Your kids will benefit greatly from it!