We are using a vocabulary enhancement technique presented by my district ELL representative. She presents this activity all over the state and has seen teachers have much success with it. My students keep asking what this activity is called, but I do not have a specific name for it. We simply call it a vocabulary enhancer.
Students worked in pairs. Each pair received a word that we have covered explicitly so far this year. Their job was to turn the word itself into a picture that represents its meaning. I showed them (at a student's insight) how the word google is turned into pictures for the Google logo. I did have to clarify that what they are doing is a bit different: we are not creating theme pictures like the logo does, but the conversation itself did help my students understand what I was expecting from them.
I began by showing them my own creation for the word setting and having them analyze how I had incorporated time and setting into the word itself:
Then I handed each group an index card with one of our words on it. Despite the whining and complaining, I would not allow them to trade their words. I wanted them to think. They were allowed to use technology to help come up with meanings and picture ideas.
The following video contains the finished products, and I will be sharing this at the TexTESOL conference in San Marcos this weekend: