No Series: Kick Me: Making Vocabulary Interactive


Common core State Standards

  • ELA: 

    English Language Arts

  • L: 


  • 7: 

    7th Grade

  • 5b: 

    Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.

    a. Interpret figures of speech (e.g., literary, biblical, and mythological allusions) in context.

    b. Use the relationship between particular words (e.g., synonym/antonym, analogy) to better understand each of the words.

    c. Distinguish among the connotations (associations) of words with similar denotations (definitions) (e.g., refined, respectful, polite, diplomatic, condescending).

Download Common Core State Standards (PDF 1.2 MB)

Kick Me: Making Vocabulary Interactive

Lesson Objective: Students find missing words from classmates to complete analogies
Grade 7 / ELA / Writing


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Discussion and Supporting Materials

Thought starters

  1. Why is setting a time limit essential to this activity?
  2. How can this activity be used as both a pre-teaching and review activity?
  3. What are the learning benefits of allowing students to be mobile?


  • Private message to Maria Scheerer

I can't open the white board lesson could you send it to me please.  I've e-mailed teaching channel but I've gotten no answer and My account is paid for.  Used this before love it, Thank you!

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  • Private message to Anna Carter

I'm unable to open the supporting materials. Could you please email them to me at Thank you so much! Looking forward to having my kids do this activity!

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  • Private message to Carolyn Aponte

I am unable to locate the supporting materials.  Can you please email them to me at  thanks

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  • Private message to Svetlana Andrianova

WHY is it called Kick Me???

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  • Private message to John Fritchie

There is a sort of classic prank where someone secretly puts a message like, "Kick me" on another's back.  Then the person goes around not knowing why everyone is kicking him or her.  It's not actually funny, but putting the information on students' backs is similar, without the cruelty.

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  • Private message to Raven Groom
Great resources! This method would be easy to apply to the classroom setting.
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  • Great Lesson Ideas: Kick Me with Jodi Macauley

    Macauley: [00:00:08] Hi. I’m Jodi Macauley. I teach seventh grade writing at Wilmette

    Great Lesson Ideas: Kick Me with Jodi Macauley

    Macauley: [00:00:08] Hi. I’m Jodi Macauley. I teach seventh grade writing at Wilmette Junior High School, in Wilmette, Illinois. [00:00:11]

    [00:00:18] This lesson is called Kick Me. [00:00:20]

    [00:00:19] No admit today. We’re just going to start right with the activity. [00:00:21]

    [00:00:22] The Kick Me method is based on the prank of putting a note on someone’s back that says kick me. That’s the inspiration. I used Kick Me for analogies by taking out one word of the analogies and putting it on the students’ backs. They had to take a minute to analyze the relationship, and then find the missing word on their classmates’ backs. Because there’s a limited amount of answers, they had to find the right answer, the best answer just like in a standardized testing situation. [00:00:50]

    [00:00:55] Giving them a time limit is also really important because if you would leave it open-ended until everyone finishes, it just ends up, some kids are done early. Some kids are just goofing around, but if you give them 10 minutes or 15 minutes and they know the timer is ticking, they’ll move much more efficiently and get the answers. [00:01:11]

    [00:01:12] I think we should all read the first rule of Kick Me together. There’s absolutely no kicking. Okay. Get up and find the answers. I’ll set the timer. [00:01:25]

    [Kids talking and working 00:01:25 – 00:01:34]

    Macauley: [00:01:35] This lesson just has to do with word choice which is something we’re studying all year long and making connections between words to help you remember word choice. So, looking at analogies has the kids thinking at a high level. They have to analyze the relationship before they can come up with the answer. [00:01:51]

    [00:01:59] You’re at the five minute mark, you should be halfway done. [00:02:01]

    [00:02:02] Kick me can be used for anything. It’s a great pre-teaching lesson when the kids don’t really know the answers, so that they really have to look for the answers. It could also work as a review activity so that they already know the answers, but they have to find the exact words. [00:02:18

    Child: [00:02:32] Maybe with a palm to immaturity. [00:02:35]

    Child: [00:02:36] Palm that’s no. No. [00:02:37]

    Child: [00:02:37] I think it goes—[00:02:41]

    Child: [00:02:46] I found tangerine, that’s great. [00:02:47]

    Macauley: [00:02:50] They like it because they get up and move, and they’re not just listening to me talk and they can interact with each other. It forces them to work with everybody, and so they have a lot of fun with that. It makes the time go by quickly, and they actually learn something. [00:03:04]

    Child: [00:03:06] We got immaturity. [00:03:06]

    Macauley: [00:03:06] Did you really? [Laughter] You’re really good. I did it. I’m sorry Matthew. I did not mean anything by that. [00:03:16]

    Child: [00:03:16] You’re calling me mean. [00:03:17]

    Child: [00:03:18] No I’m not. Calling me main effect. [00:03:18]

    Child: [00:03:19] You’re calling me immature. So you have to make sure on your back. [00:03:22]

    [00:03:23] Movement is really important especially for this age level because at the junior high level, so often they’re just sitting and listening to lecture. So any time that they can move, they’re more engaged which means they’re going to learn more. There’s also brain research that supports having the blood moving to the brain will help with retention and focus. [00:03:39]

    [00:03:40] Show us the effect. [00:03:41]

    Child: [00:03:41] Well it gets us up and interactive which is a lot more fun than just taking notes the whole period, so. [00:03:45]

    Child: [00:03:45] It’s really fun to get to like move around and talk to people and learn interactively instead of just sitting in our seats and—[00:03:52]

    Child: [00:03:52] Yeah it helps too like remember things when you’re moving around to like remember—[00:03:56]

    Child: [00:03:56] It like gets printed in your brain better. [00:03:58]

    Child: [00:03:58] You remember like what you were doing and kind of make connections that way. Yeah. [00:04:03]

    Macauley: [00:04:03] Some other ways that I’ve used it is for figurative language where the kids have the definition of hyperbole or simile, metaphor and then I put examples on their backs, and they have to go and find it from their classmates and fill in a chart. Then they come back together and see if they put them in the correct places. It also works for definitions. Put the definitions on their backs, and they have to copy the definitions which, you know, kids do not like to copy definitions but this forces them to do it. They do it gladly because they’re up and moving and they’re sort of having fun with their peers. [00:04:32]

    Child: [00:04:33] It’s a different way to learn vocabulary and sometimes just learning vocabulary and definitions is boring, so it’s more fun. [00:04:38]

    Macauley: [00:04:39] I’m going to give you my lesson plan and my smart board activities so that you can do Kick Me in your classroom. [00:04:44]

School Details

Wilmette Junior High School
620 Locust Road
Wilmette IL 60091
Population: 884

Data Provided By:



Jodi Macauley
English Language Arts / 7 / Teacher


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