Explicit teaching of vocabulary is a MUST! We need to show students word connections, and in the first vocab post, I wrote about anaphoric relationships (context clues). Today, we’ll talk about synonyms and antonyms. We all know there are some of fifth graders who truly struggle to keep those straight. Reading terminology always seems to get muddied up for some kids, but we continue to plug on.
So one way to work on expanding vocabulary in your students’ writing is to explore degrees of meaning with synonyms. After all, there is a difference between the word eat and the word devour, right? Although they’d be considered synonyms, certainly the intensity is not the same. Students need to learn the importance of revising their work and that it’s okay for writing to not be “perfect” with the first draft. I will never forget the first writing assignment I did with a struggling fifth grader new to my building who looked at me in confusion when I told her she was ready to revise. She had no idea what the word revise meant. So often, kids just…want…it…done. Do you see that? By working in activities to expand vocabulary, we make student writing richer and help them to see the connections between words. Students need to work with words 12-15 times for words to become part of a student’s vocabulary. The freebie to the right I used with my students. We followed up with the paint swatch activity to practice using the thesaurus. There are many neat variations on this concept. Below are a few…
Now, I must sign off and get my plans together for this week. I hope you enjoy these activities and that your students do too. In Virginia, this standard includes a LOT, so I will be back soon with a few more ways to address it.
Until then…stay calm and teach on!