I found this excellent teaching tip today on the local message board. You need to be a member of my school board to access the site so I thought I would share this tip with you here. It was originally posted by Dr. Megan Cyrisse Parry-Jamieson.
“Hi all — I’ve been having good results with word work in my grade 7 class – the first thing they loved I stole from a colleague (Christina Young) — I hit up Home Depot for the out of style paint chip strips. Each kid got one — and got to put one word on one of the colours. Then they had to come up with ‘lighter’ or ‘darker’ versions of the same word — they loved it, kept the strips, and I’ve heard them talking to each other about ‘that word is too light, you need a shade darker’ — so it stuck! woo hoo!”
I tried this activity out myself. I really like how it gets the kids brainstorming about different words that mean the same thing. We can introduce the term synonym during this lesson and get the kids using a thesaurus.
I thought I’d come up with words for fight as an example. This is what I came up with.
You can see that at the bottom of the paint strip I used the most tame version of the word fight I could come up with.
- Scrimmage is a friendly game or competition.
- Scrap is a word we often use to describe a small fight between two people. Sometimes a scrap will break out during a game or a scrimmage.
- Match is a more formal word for a game than scrimmage (like a boxing match)
- Bout is also used in boxing and we can see that imagery with this word.
- Fight is a strong word and you can see that we’ve been working on way up the strip so that as the colours get darker, the definition of the word does as well.
- Brawl means lots of people are involved in the fight.
- And finally a Melee is used to describe a fight that is utter chaos and involves a large group of people.
I’m finding it awesome in terms of improving word choice, but it’s also really helping for concept retention and vocab comprehension in my rotary science classes — for kids to see that ‘conductor’ is something that transfers energy well, NOT the guy driving the train…. helps. Also helps when they make the link between Conductor and Contact — build in reminders…. my ESL kids are attending to specifics better — whenever they incorrectly substitute a visually similar but not related word they get a word sheet — feel free to pull them off my site — they’re free for teacher use etc. from freeology.com
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