Growing up, on Sunday afternoons my Mom would tell my brother and me about the special or wacky holidays that were coming up during the week. From Felt Hat Day (September) to World Thinking Day (February), it was a highlight of our weeks and neat to imagine that somewhere in the world someone actually celebrate these events.
This Friday (January 18th) is Thesaurus Day! That’s right, get your party hats on J While I will not be in the classroom full-time, yet, I will at some point celebrate this holiday with students. Additionally, holiday or not, antonyms and synonyms can be hard for students…especially struggling readers. There are SO many words in 1st grade, and it can be so difficult for students to determine if words are synonyms/antonyms if they cannot read the first word! Therefore, I wanted to create a way to teach synonyms/antonyms catering to struggling readers and visual learners – I came up with Weighing Words.
Mini-lesson: I introduce the activity with a scale explaining that words have weight. A word’s ‘weight’ is its meaning. I would make the connection that an even/equal scale means two words ‘weigh’ the same or have the same meaning (ex. kind and nice). They can replace one another on the scale or in a sentence. Then, introduce the word ‘synonym’ – a term that means words have the same weight or meaning – and display the anchor chart. As a class, we create a list of same-weight words placing them on the scales. I would then go through the same process with antonyms.
Center: (We do the Daily 5, so I would include this activity in Word Work) To gauge student understanding (i.e. formative assessment), students would complete the weighing words activity in a group. Given 10 sets of words, students weigh the words (using laminated cardstock scales) to decide if they are synonyms or antonyms. Although I colored coded my cards (so students are focusing on deciding if the sets are synonyms or antonyms , they could easily be printed in black/white allowing students to decide which cards ‘match’.
Click here or the above picture to grab the anchor charts and center for free. I hope it helps synonyms and antonyms ‘click’ with your friends J Wishing you and yours a wonderful Thesaurus Day!
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