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Spotlight on Strategies:Vocabulary stepping stone

Identify eight-ten vocabulary words from the video that are important to the understanding of the content. Distribute the content-related vocabulary words. Have students discuss familiarity and understanding of the words. Review as a class. Play the video and ask students to discuss the sequence, ordering the words explaining how they were used in context.

Big idea

The purpose of this strategy is to use academic vocabulary verbally before the students view a video. Pre-vocabulary teaching can really enhance understanding of the concepts and content covered in the video. 

Using a word cloud tool to paste the transcript of a video into is a useful tool to clearly see which are the key words in the video.

Overview of strategy

  • Ages:Early years, Primary & Secondary
  • Media type used:Video
  • Preparation time:Medium
  • Download strategy PDF


a video that matches your current topic, view in advance and choose eight-ten vocabulary words from the video that are important to the understanding of the content (print out), scissors.

  1. Distribute the content-related vocabulary words. Have students cut them out and mix them up.
  2. Engage students in vocabulary development activities to review terms:
    • In small groups, have students discuss which words are familiar and share their understanding of the meanings.
    • As a whole group, briefly have students share and review the words and their meanings.
  3. Explain to students that as the video segment plays they will work with a partner to place the vocabulary words in order as they are heard in the segment.
  4. Play the video.
  5. After the video segment concludes, have students discuss the sequence of topics from the segment, using the order identified for the vocabulary words and discuss how they were used in context.
Sum it up

This strategy is a great way to increase understanding of content-related vocabulary.

More ideas
  • Have students preview a video segment(s) and determine their own vocabulary terms. Students can share their terms with their peers and then replay the video segment(s).
  • Have students create a word cloud using words related to the vocabulary terms, such as synonyms.

special thanks to Susan Bowdoin (Albuquerque, New Mexico) for submitting this strategy.

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