Definitions Are Us

Item description: 

Definitions Are Us is a cooperative assessment that prompts students to demonstrate their complete understanding of a term or expression by creating their own definition.


  1. Make and distribute enough copies of the Definitions Are Us template.
  2. Assign each student an important vocabulary word or expression.
  3. Instruct them to find a formal definition of the word and to identify the two most important words in this definition.
  4. Students should then get into pairs. Prompt the pairs to share the words they chose and to discuss why they chose them. Have students record all four most important word selections and their respective reasoning in the graphic organizer.
  5. Once the partners have discussed and recorded their choices, they should work cooperatively to create their own definition of the word or expression.
  6. An expansion of this activity includes frequently administering these assessments and having the student’s build their own glossary for the unit/ course.


One way to grade this would be to make a game of it. Students write their definition on an index card. Each pair of students looks up the dictionary or glossary definition and writes it on another index card. The pairs of cards are placed in random order and passed around the room. All the other students read the definitions and choose the one they think is the best. If the new definition gets as many points as the real definition, then students get full credit.



This makes a nice review activity as well.

Preparation time: 15 / Delivery time: 30

Microsoft Office document icon Definitions Are Us29.5 KB