Is a House a Home? Synonyms and Critical Thinking

Posted by on Sep 17, 2012 in vocabulary development | 0 comments

“I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself.” —Maya Angelou

I have written about synonyms before. I feel that they are one of the very best vocabulary development tools. Have you ever noticed that kids love synonyms for “big”? Just ask them, they can make quite a list. Wouldn’t it be great if we could help them acquire such a list for many other words? A list they could consider critically when choosing the best word for writing or just for intelligent conversation?

Students need more information than just the words. They need to begin developing an understanding of the connotation of words. Would I rather be called “petite” or “puny”? Of course, I don’t really have anything against small, but I really don’t want to be seen as a runt.

An activity I love to use is a value line. Kids take a list of words: happy, glad, gleeful, joyful, joyous, delighted, pleased, overjoyed. They then place them on a value line by deciding which ones seem least positive to most positive. They need to talk about their choices. Which words were easy to place? Which ones are hardest? Are there some that seem to fit right in the middle? Which are words you tend to use? Which are words you have never used? They could place them by themselves and then talk, or they could place them in collaboration with a partner or team. I know I’ve said it before, but conversation about words is so important!

Here is an example of a value line activity that I have made for my classroom:

If you’d like to have more, I have created this set for my TPT store:

It is currently on sale at a special introductory price.

Here is a header I created for the Synonym page of a Word Study notebook:

Have a great week, everyone!


Leave a Reply