Vocabulary Ideas to Whooot About Part 2...Synonyms and Antonyms

Hello readers! It's a gorgeous morning in Virginia as I begin this post, and the birds are chirping away (along with a noisy woodpecker off in the distance).  A few weeks ago, I started a little series of posts about vocabulary.  The first post focused on using context clues, and today, I'm going to share a few ideas related to synonyms and antonyms. (Some of my fifth graders 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...


Synonyms ActivityThis freebie from Christina Cottongame may come in handy as an alternative to picking up paint swatches from your local Home Depot or Lowes. It would make an adorable bulletin board for reference all year long. I love that Christina included 2, 3, and 4 section swatches for additional challenge.  
Another options for expanding word knowledge for overused words is with games like Parking Lot. It is basically a matching game where the student tries to match up upper case/lower case letters, beginning sound with pictures, word with definition, or in this case, the overused words with replacement words. I used this game with my group in teams, but it would work well with a partner too.  This idea works well for antonyms too.  I will try to add those to this freebie soon since I'm out of time for this evening. If you download, try to remember to check back in the future.

Finally, the last suggestion requires absolutely no materials and is strictly oral.  The synonym/antonym game is all about mystery words. The teacher provides students with a dead word, and students work to figure out the replacement...synonym or antonym.  Higher level thinking...yep! Research...could be. Fun?   Definitely!

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!

[name=Meet Carla] [img=https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-NINt3dPg7WU/XFpOITn00vI/AAAAAAAAdnI/ko-OugXgmDozCM6eyEtPUWmmdvd9iYDzwCLcBGAs/s1600/profile%2Bpicture.reduced.png] [description=Retired Reading Specialist and Literacy Coach with 27 Years of Service | Passionate about All Things Literacy | Mom of Two Kids and a Fur Baby Named Molly]