The Common Core Standards state that college and career ready students must, “acquire and use accurately a range of general academic and domain-specific words.”  In addition, students need to “demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when encountering an unknown term important to comprehension or expression.”

Although I teach vocabulary, the majority of our vocabulary consists of SAT words. I flip my vocabulary instruction, which has transformed the way my students engage with vocabulary. I described my approach to teaching vocabulary in my blog post titled “Vocabulary Lessons: Flipped, Collaborative and Student Centered.”

Teaching academic vocabulary is a new routine for me. Instead of giving students an additional list of words, I experimented with a collaborative approach using Google presentations.


  1. Log into your Gmail and open your Google drive.
  2. Click “Create” and select “Presentation.”
  3. Give your Google presentation a title like Academic Vocabulary List #1
  4. Write an academic vocabulary word at the top of each slide. Make sure your presentation has enough slides so each student has one word.
  5. Write each students’ name in the bottom corner of each slide, so they know which slide to work on. (*Time saving tip: I’d make one presentation for each class with names on each slide and save it to us as a template for future presentations. This way, you can go to “File” and “Make a Copy” to replicate the template for future presentations.)
  6. Click blue “Share” button and select “Anyone with the link” can “Edit.”
  7. Hyperlink to the presentation from your website. 
  8. Remind students to respect their peer’s work and only edit their slide. 
  9. Create a video tutorial about how to design an effective Google presentation. 
  10. When students are done creating their slides, click the blue “Share” button and make the presentation “View only” so they can not alter the information.

The first time we worked on a shared academic vocabulary presentation, I asked students to define their vocabulary word and pair it with media. I allowed students to use images they found online as long as they provided proper citation.

The second time we created a shared presentation, I required students to create their own original art. I encouraged them to use Google drawing to create a visual or embed an original video demonstrating the meaning of their word. Their original art was SO much more impressive than the images they grabbed from other sources. It also lead to a better understanding of the words and a more engaging presentation.

Below is a video one of my students created to explain the word “bias.”

Using a collaborative Google presentation allows students to put the vocabulary in their own words and create visuals to represent the words. It also provides a crowdsourced resource that can be referenced throughout the year. 

I also found this Pinterest board for academic vocabulary helpful. It has templates, resources and other ideas for teaching academic vocabulary!

If you have resources and/or strategies you use to teach academic vocabulary, please post a comment.

Preorder your copy of Creatively Teach the Common Core Literacy Standards with TechnologyJust in time for summer reading!

12 Responses

  1. Love this idea! My kids used to make vocab-videos, but the collaborative piece you have added can really crank up the engagement and quality of student work. Thanks for sharing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *