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spring activity

Spring away from worn-out words!

Develop an interactive word wall of synonyms

How can teachers help students move away from using the same, worn-out words in their writing? Providing opportunities to brainstorm synonyms for overused words and helping students understand that using newer, fresher words is expected can solve this common frustration. Try this fun interactive activity as a tool for students to produce more sophisticated written work, while simultaneously enhancing their vocabulary!

Observe student writing, and generate a list of common words that could be replaced with more sophisticated synonyms. Some overused words teachers see in student writing include good, said, thing, fun, small, and a lot. Encourage each student to think of one alternative for each of these words.

Next, create an interactive word wall with a Spring theme!

1. Make a list of 5 or so overused words common to writing in your class, and put them on a round piece of green construction paper.
2. As a class, brainstorm synonyms for these words. Record each one on a petal-shaped piece of construction paper. Staple the petals to the corresponding round shapes, making each into a flower that offers several petals to replace the overused word.
3. Invite students to add more petals as they come up with other synonyms, perhaps by hunting for them in their reading or in a thesaurus. Supplying pre-made petals in a basket by the word chart allows students to add on whenever a new idea strikes them.
4. Ask student to find 3 to 5 of the overused words in their writing and replace them with one of the synonym “petal” words.
5. As time goes on, invite students to identify new words that could be added to the synonym garden of blooming words.

Once students get a hang of this, they could create their own synonym garden collection to house in a writing resource folder, spelling notebook, or individual word wall.

Here are some examples: