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ThingLink Teacher Challenge: Digging Deeper Into Vocabulary

ThingLink Teacher Challenge: Digging Deeper Into Vocabulary

This is the 3rd post in the ThingLink Teacher Challenge series. Participants can join the challenge at any time by signing up.  After you sign up, you will receive an email invitation from ThingLink. View a list of all posts in this series at the bottom of each weekly challenge. Please visit our showcase page.

Please Tweet and share through social media with the hashtag #TLChallenge. Feel free to repost any of the challenges on your own blog and be sure to invite your friends and colleagues to participate.

Week 3:  Dig Deep Into Vocabulary


In this activity you will

  1. Create an original digital image.

  2. Upload your image to ThingLink.
  3. Add Rich Media Tags to define vocabulary through multimedia

  4. Share and submit interactive to the ThingLink Challenge.


In this activity you will create an interactive image to to help students develop build vocabulary. Think about your image as a digital poster. You can weave together digital tools to create an activity that can be used  to introduce students to vocabulary prior to a lesson, or your interactive image could be used to help students develop meaning through research.


There is a wealth of research to suggest that vocabulary knowledge is the single best predictor of student academic achievement across all curriculum areas. Experts agree, if given the opportunity to receive effective vocabulary instruction, most students can acquire vocabulary at rates that will improve their comprehension and also their chances for success in school. Even the Common Core identifies Academic Vocabulary as one of the six big shifts. It’s clear that educators need to spend some time teaching it.

Digging deeper into vocabulary means more than just sending students to a dictionary to look up the definition. Students must interact with  new vocabulary.  Opportunities to use words, explore them within different contexts and create non-linguistic representations of words will help them do more than just memorize words. ThingLink is well-suited for the task.


This example uses video to introduce students to vocabulary words in context. Links on the right side of the image connect to instaGrok, an integrated  search engine and learning tool. After viewing the videos, students use instaGrok to  build their own understanding of the terms through research.

Here is an example of an everyday research project where students engaged in research to define the term boycott by finding examples. Then they created this image and tagged it with multimedia resources.

Create Your Own Vocabulary Image

Steps at a Glance

Explore the channel of interactive directions below for tutorials and more.

  1. Identify a vocabulary word or a set of vocabulary words.
  2. Create an original image. (See directions below)
  3. Take a snapshot of the image to save it to your desktop.
  4. Upload the image to ThingLink.
  5. Click on the image to add Rich Media tags, text, or links to the image. Remember to add tags that go beyond dictionary definitions.
  6. Remember to add a tag with your name on your image.
  7. Remember to add a Twitter Tag and other social media icons.
  8. Submit your image through the Google Form.
  9. Check back throughout the week to view the Showcase channel.

Channel of Interactive Directions

How to Create An Original Image

You can use any digital tool to create an original image. If you aren’t familiar with creating your own images, here are some tips and tricks to get you started.

  • Create a PowerPoint, Keynote or Google Docs Slide with a text and images. Take a screenshot of the slide and upload it to ThingLink.

  • Create a collage with the photo editing software on your computer.
  • Big Huge Labs – This free and user friendly site has an array of tools that are perfect for jump starting a ThingLink learning project. Students can use the tools without logging in to an account and they can choose from a variety of options. Once created, they can take a snapshot of the image and upload it to ThingLink. Here are some fun choices.
  • Art Skills – Art Skills is a nice tool for creating posters.
  • Use a free online photo editing tool, such as Photo Flexr or PicMonkey. Upload the image and use the built in tools to add text. Save the finished image to your computer and upload it to ThingLink.
  • FotoFlexer is a free and user friendly online photo editing tool  that has plenty of features to edit and spruce up a photo for use with ThingLink.  Upload a photo, add text and special effects, create a collage, and perform basic editing tasks without logging in.
  • On a tablet, try Pages, Keynote, Educreations, or any app that allows you to add text to an image. Take a snapshot of your image and then upload it to ThingLink from your Photos.

Digital Tools to Explore

ThingLink allows users to create links to any resource on the world wide web. Here are some tools to try when you are trying to incorporate deeper learning experiences into your interactive image:

  • instaGrok – An integrated search engine and learning tool
  • VocabGrabber – A word cloud generator that allows users to sort words by content area and explore relationships through visual maps.
  • Lexipedia – Create word webs and more.
  • A Maths Dictionary –  An interactive dictionary for defining math words through pictures and  simulations.
  • Lingro – A tool that turns any digital text into an interactive dictionary, useful for help with words in context and also for ESL students. The tool also translates words and allows students to build a word bank.
  • Word Sift – A word cloud generator that helps students build their own definitions through the use of video and images.
  • Shahi –  Shahi is a visual dictionary that combines Wiktionary content with Flickr images, and more.
  • Word Hipp0 – A reference tool that provides definitions, pronunciations, antonyms, synonyms, rhyming words and words in context.

Showcase of Examples

View the Ultimate Word Wall of  of amazing vocabulary images submitted and watch it grow! The wall is best when viewed full size,  Go to Padlet.

Classroom Connections and Modifications

  • Create a class channel of vocabulary words for a particular unit of study.

  • Embed interactive images into a Padlet board to build an ongoing multimedia word wall throughout the year.
  • Ask students to create a channel of vocabulary words of their own.

Additional Help and Support

ThingLink Teacher Challenge at a Glance

Next Week’s Challenge

Create an Interactive Map

Take the Week 4 Challenge: Create an Interactive Map

Create an interactive map.

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Susan Oxnevad
Susan Oxnevad strives to build a powerful network of educators who share a passion for using ThingLink to transform teaching and learning. In addition, she also hosts ThingLink webinars for educators and blogs about thoughtful ways to leverage the power of technology for teaching and learning on the ThingLink Blog for Education. Follow her on Twitter @soxnevad
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