Want to work on vocabulary with your students? There are many ways to be intentional about words without buying curriculum or spending a lot of money. All you need is a dictionary, a thesaurus, and some time. Today I’m sharing our fun with word collages.
What Is a Word Collage?
A word collage is a creative way to play with words. It’s a great way to consider multiple meanings of the same word. See if you can find a representation for each of the meanings- both literal and symbolic. Once kids have a grasp of everything a word represents, they can find images for each meaning to place together in a collage.
Preparing the Word Collage
Gather some reference books and some paper to get started.
- Choose a word that has multiple meanings and write the word down.
- Look up the word in a dictionary and copy the various definitions.
- Reference the word in a thesaurus to learn about similar words.
- Find pictures and symbols to represent each nuance of the chosen word. My kids like to make a word document on the computer where they paste their images and then print them.
- Print or cut out the pictures and collage them together on the paper with glue.
Word Suggestions for Word Collages
Think of words with many meanings. I let my kids decide which sometimes take a while. This is usually an open ended activity without a tight time limit. My kids like to find a word with a lot of potential which means they spend time perusing the dictionary to find just the right one. Here are a few to get you started:
- Anchor– Besides a ship’s anchor, my 13yo thought of fasteners, glue, Jesus, a stitch in sewing. Her collage is a montage of all those things.
- Bug– listening devices, computer glitches, insects, making big eyes, etc. Pretty good find for my 8yo!
- Space– a place to be, tiny places between things, the last frontier, etc.
- Wave– meanings in science, oceanography, grass in the wind, a greeting, etc.
Resources for Collages & Photos
- Open source photos on the internet
- Collage Lab– experiments in collage technique
- Adventures in Mixed Media– you might try a collage with varying materials. Some students might like the chance to integrate more objects into the collage.
- Drawings– if your student is inclined to drawing, this is a great opportunity to combine drawing with collage.
Word collages help kids to see all the meanings of a word and to reflect on the ways a word can be used.
Did you enjoy word collages? If you’d like to see more ideas on working with words, see my post at Bright Ideas Press on Five Ways to Play with Words.