An English teacher would know that when he or she asks the class to “compare your shoes with the shoes of your partner,” the students would be expected to state the similarities and not the differences. Defend means to give reasons to support your argument. Explain usually means to tell how one arrived at a conclusion…and you get the idea. These instructional verbs have significant meaning and tell the students how they should respond to the prompt.
Many students struggle with academic vocabulary, and this is an easy way to help boost their knowledge in all subjects.
This is a cube you can make out of a single page of paper. You cut around the outer edges and then fold on the solid lines until it makes a cube. Tape it up and put one instructional verb from the following link on each side. The words you choose should be ones you have been practicing in class or are starting to learn. Have a student toss the cube up, and whichever side is facing up when it lands will start a writing prompt. Either the student can make up the whole prompt or you can do it for them. Have the students take a few minutes to respond and then do a think-pair-share. This is a simple activity and it can be a warm up for some days.