We started by looking at a thermometer and a table with temperatures decreasing and asking the students what the temperature would be if the decreasing temperatures went below zero.
This would also be a great time to ask students where they have seen/heard about negative numbers so they connect this new knowledge with what they already know.
Then I gave students words to sort into negative, positive or zero. Afterwards we I asked students to give me examples of they words belonged into each category.
It would be "easy" to just skip over this vocabulary as we went into integer operations and word problems. However, I have several LEP students in my classes and just assuming they know these words will make things more difficult in the future.
This sort is available in the Real World Integer Situation Product on TeachersPayTeachers.