When learning new vocabulary, it’s important for students to link that vocabulary to something that they already know. That’s why the ubiquitous Frayer Model includes a square for students to provide or draw examples.

Students can also take this to the next level with finding GIFs that illustrate their vocabulary words.

Made with Padlet


The How-To
  • Start with a Padlet wall with a column format.
  • Name each column with a vocabulary word.
  • Make sure the settings allow users to add to the Padlet and that it isn’t in “View Only” mode
  • Start the Padlet off with 3-4 examples of what you expect. I ask students to include an image or GIF and to use the word in a sentence that explains the image.
  • When you’re ready, provide students with the link.

This activity works to reinforce the vocabulary words in students’ minds, but I also use it as a formative assessment for using words in a sentence. Students’ sentences give me a sense a which words they’re integrating easily and which words they’re struggling with. I can then focus future instruction and practice with those specific words.

Another huge benefit is students being able to see other students’ sentences. They can see how other students integrate the words, which can be bonus learning to those students who need a little more scaffolding.

This same idea can be modified for other classroom uses. Students can use GIFs to represent their current mood as a daily or weekly check-in. Or students can post a GIF and a sentence as a quick response to a text or video.

A few hints when using this activity:

  • Give students choice. Rather than making them find an image for each word, let them select 5-6 words.
  • Create multiple Padlet walls. I assign walls to 6-8 students because the walls can get filled with graphics quickly. This leads to longer times to open the link.
  • Use for self-paced learning. After students learn this activity, it’s a great one to use during station rotations, playlists, or days you’re absent and you’re leaving sub plans.