Here is one of my personal favorite vocabulary building exercises. Every week we have approximately 6-8 new vocabulary words that go along with our story. After we spend some time learning these words, there meanings, and connecting them in some way to our own personal lives...we create stories!!! The kids write down the new vocabulary words on a piece of paper. We tear the paper so we have "notecards" and save time. The kids work individually or with a partner to create a story including these vocabulary words. They lay each card down in order as they verbally tell their story. Then they record their story on paper and add an illustration. My students have gotten very creative with this activity. I had one student who began creating "wanted posters".