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Unit Plan for Synonyms, Antonyms, Homophones, Roots and Affixes

English SOL Standard 5.4

Students will:

demonstrate the ability to collaborate with diverse teams.

use context and sentence structure to determine meanings and differentiate

among multiple meanings of words.

apply their knowledge of roots, affixes, synonyms, antonyms, and


begin to learn about Greek and Latin affixes.

understand that often a word can be divided into root word, prefix, and suffix
in order to determine its pronunciation.

understand how a prefix changes the meaning of a root word.

use word references and context clues to determine which meaning is

appropriate in a given situation.

identify the word-reference materials, such as a dictionary, glossary, or

thesaurus, that is most likely to contain the information needed.

develop vocabulary by listening to and reading a variety of texts.

Throughout the unit students will:

use combined knowledge of all letter-sound correspondences,

syllabication patterns, roots, and affixes to read accurately multisyllabic
words in context and out.
build their knowledge of word origins by learning about Greek and Latin
use word-reference materials to learn new words.
know that homophones are words that are pronounced the same and have
different meanings regardless of their spelling (e.g., principle/ principal,

By the end of the unit, students should:

apply knowledge of word structure and context clues to determine the

meanings of unfamiliar words.


Homophones Words List (Mr. Curd)
Reading Notebooks (Students)
Pencils, Colored Pencils, Crayons, Scissors, Glue sticks (Students)
Construction paper (Mrs. Gregory)
Projector, SMART Board, Elmo (Mrs. Gregory)

Computers (Students)
Laptop (Mr. Curd)
Leveled Reader Books (Students)
Novels (Students)
Tree Sheet (Mr. Curd)
Homophones Worksheet (Mr. Curd)
Flash Cards (Mr. Curd)
Menu (Mrs. Gregory)

For Day One, the hook will be a video clip about homophones:
For Day Two, the hook will be flashcards with root words and meanings and I will
quiz them as a class to see what they remember from the previous weeks lesson on
Greek and Latin Roots. I will reward the group that gets the most cards with a set of
toys they get to keep at their desk for the day.
For Day Three, the hook will be an introductory game called Synonym Hunt. The
students will try to match their cards to another card and form a pair. Each pair will
then share their matches at the end.
For Day Four, the hook will be a chart describing antonyms that will have a word for
each letter in antonyms and a blank space next to the word. I will ask the class to
come up with a word that means the exact opposite and fill the chart in with what
they say. This will begin the lesson on antonyms.
Day One:
Begin the lesson with having the students rank their confidence in knowing and
recognizing homophones. I will do this by having the students line up in the back of
the room and tell them that one wall is for having a complete understanding and
feeling very confident. The other wall is still unsure and not very confident about
The next step is telling the students to stand where they feel they are in relation to
knowing homophones. I will use this information to guide the lesson. If a majority of
the class is not feeling confident then I know we will need to spend more time on
the topic and if most are feeling confident we will be able to move on to another
topic more quickly.
- I will use this method at the beginning and end of each whole group lesson as
an assessment tool as well as closure.
To, Too, Two Lesson:
Begin by introducing the term homophone to students. Explain that homophones
are words that sound alike but have different meanings and are spelled differently.
Note the root word phone, which means sound. Homophones involve sound and
listening, just like when one talks on the phone.

Ask students to brainstorm some homophones and write them on the board.
Tell students that they are going to be listening to a song, and they should listen
for as many homophones as they can hear. Play the Between the
Lions' Homophones song. You may want to play the song several times for
students. Ask students to tell what homophones they hear in the song. Record
them on the board.
Once students have listened to the song and identified the homophones, discuss
the meaning and spelling of each homophone with students. Point out that each
homophone sounds the same but has a different meaning and spelling.
Divide students into small groups (34 students) and explain that they are going to
be acting out several homophones for the class. The other students in the class will
have to give the meaning and spelling of that particular homophone. Have
students pick one of the homophone index cards. Each group should come up with
a short (1020 second) skit that depicts the homophone that they selected.

Example: If a group selects the homophone meet, they might act out a quick
skit in which two people meet each other. The other members of the class
would have to give the meaning and spelling of that homophone (meet).
Have the other groups select index cards and act out the homophones on
their cards. Continue with the skits until several sets of homophones have
been identified.

Once all groups have completed their skits, each group can turn their skit into a
short comic strip. Show students a sample comic strip before they begin. The
comics can be compiled into a class "homophone book" or displayed in the
After this lesson, students will split up into small groups to work on other activities
such as: reading their novels, working with rhyme scheme in poems, reading their
Leveled Readers out loud to a teacher, completing word sorts with their
homophones words list or taking their PALS tests.

Each day these activities may change but they will be in small groups at
some point.

Day Two:
Before the block begins students will work with a partner to sort their words. These
words will be on their Spelling Test given on Friday.
For the lesson on root words, I will introduce the lesson with having them rank how
they feel about Greek and Latin root words like we did the day before.
The start of the lesson will be a flash card game where I will show the class a root
word on the projector and as a table, they have to raise their hand to answer what
they think the word means. We will play this until we have been through every root
word and the table with the most correct responses will receive a reward.

We will then as a class, go over what each root word means and they can write
them in their notebooks.
The class will then move on to rotations where they are introduced to the Menu and
can work on that at their desk. Other groups will be reading and talking about
character development in their novels. Another group will be working again with
homophones. Here they will receive the worksheet on Homophones (I will collect
these for assessment).
Day Three:
"Synonym Hunt":

Write a word on one flashcard and its synonym on another flashcard.

Write as many flashcards as needed so each student will have one.
Pass out the cards randomly to the students.
Students are to hunt for the synonym that matches their cards (walk around
the room).
Pairs of students stand next to each other once they have synonyms that
Each pair shares their matched synonyms.

Thesaurus Activity:

Choose one of the synonyms used and remind students what its synonym
was in the previous activity.
Ask a couple volunteers to give a few more examples for the whole class to
Pass out thesauruses and discuss with the students that they are like
dictionaries but they are used to find synonyms for words.
Have the students look up the word being discussed.
Ask the students what other synonyms they found that we don't already
Have the students in groups choose one of their flashcard words and to make
a list of all possible synonyms using a thesaurus and most importantly their
Ask groups to share what they found, any difficulties they had, and
interesting information they found.

Synonym Trees:

Pass out tree and leave templates, construction paper, scissor, glue
sticks and markers to the students.
Have each student choose a synonym that they have not used yet.
Each student should make a brainstorm list of all possible synonyms
for that word on a piece of scratch paper.
When their list is done they should come and check it with me or
another teacher. The teacher should look for errors, including spelling

Once their list has been checked the students need to trace and cut
out their tree and eight leaves on green and brown construction
Students need to write their main word on the tree trunk and their
eight favorite synonyms on the leaves in black marker.
Students then need to glue the leaves onto their tree so that all written
information can be seen.
Put trees somewhere safe to dry.
Once dry put up on a bulletin board.

Day Four:
Students will help me fill out the chart:

Antonyms are words that mean the opposite of another word.


After this warm-up students will be divided into teams for Antonym Word Game.
Antonym Word Game:
- Divide the class into two teams and have one person from each team
approach the chalkboard or whiteboard. Give the students a word and
see which team can come up with a synonym or antonym first. The
first team to write a word gets a point. Invite two new players to the
board and play another round. The winning team is the one with the
most points at the end of playtime. The winning team will receive an
Apples to Apples game card (used as a reward at end of week to
match their noun with the verb, winner gets a prize).
After this activity, students will continue to work on their Menus and Leveled
Readers. They can also study their spelling words for tomorrows test.
Closure will be ranking their confidence with antonyms.
How can homophones help you when reading?
When would be a good time to use synonyms and antonyms?
How does the author develop the character in your novels? How has that character
changed as the story progressed?
Where have you seen root words? Are there any root words you recognize in your

Students that finish early or need extra practice can be given the opportunity by
using a Menu which includes nine different activities that can be completed in any
order. The students will be given this menu one day one and will have all week to
complete as many boxes as they can. This allows for variety and provides students
with choice.
For students that finish something early or may be struggling with learning
homophones, I have a crossword puzzle that they can complete either online or on
paper: http://www.readwritethink.org/files/resources/interactives/crossword/
There will be an aid in the room every day during the Language Arts/Reading block.
She provides help to students and will be leading a group when we have rotations
this week. She will also assist struggling individual students if they need it during
whole group time.
Those students that have behavior problems sit closest to the teacher and are put
in groups where they will be most successful.
Each day we will end the lesson with the students standing at the back of the
classroom. I will ask them how they feel about the topic we were learning for the
day. One side of the room will be totally confident and the other will be not so
sure. I will explain to them what it means to be 100% confident versus unsure and
tell them that they can stand in the middle as well. This is meant to see how the
students are feeling with a topic and will allow me to shift my focus based on how
they answer. I will also offer time for students to speak about the topic and why
they stood where they did.
For Day One: Observations, Homophones Confidence Ranking, Comic Strips and
Skits (Rubric)
For Day Two: Observations, Confidence Ranking and Homophones worksheet:
Students will underline the homophones in each sentence.
For Day Three: Observations, Confidence Rankings and Synonym Trees
For Day Four: Observations, Confidence Rankings and Answers to Word Game/Chart
For Day Five: Spelling Test, Confidence Ranking (cumulative)

Sources and Credits:

Read Write Think
To, Too, or Two: Developing an Understanding of Homophones
Sarah Dennis-Shaw
Avon, Massachusetts

International Literacy Association

Heidi Klein
Synonym Trees
Valley Oaks Elementary
21 C Street
Galt, Ca 95623
Heidi Klein
Last Revised: 08/11/2000
Synonyms & Antonyms Activities for 5th Graders
Sara Ipatenco, Demand Media