One of the most common problems students have when writing is using "dead words" or words that are overused or "used to death."
In this group activity, 52 task cards will be divided between 5 student groups (10 cards per group). Students will work together to find new, more interesting words to substitute in place of the "dead words" found in the sentences on the task cards. Students will use a thesaurus or thesaurus app on a smart device to find synonyms, then rewrite each sentence with the synonym on an answer sheet provided. For an extension, students will create their own 2 sentences using 2 new synonyms and record them on the answer sheet.
*A synonym and "dead word" anchor chart are also provided.*
Task Cards Include these Dead Words:
7. Said (x2)
8. Good (x2)
16. Bad (x3)
17. Hot (x2)
27. Asked (x2)
39. Going (x2)
42. A lot
-Print & cut out each task card (cardstock is recommended).
-Laminate cards so that they can be used again and again (optional).
-Print an answer sheet per group/individual and pass out to students.
-Store cards in a plastic baggie or punch a hole in the top corner of each card and place them on a ring.
-Divide class into 5 groups.
Before You Begin:
-Review the word synonym with your students. Remind students that a synonym is a word that means the same or almost the same as another word. Display the “Synonym” anchor chart. -Review some simple examples, such as: big/large, little/small, happy/glad, mad/angry, etc.
-Explain to students that some words such as said, asked, good, bad, pretty, ugly, etc. have synonyms that are more interesting. skillful writers use these more descriptive words to make their writing more interesting.
-Introduce the concept of dead words: words that are overused or “used to death” in writing. Display the “Dead Word” anchor chart.
-Review with students how to use a thesaurus to look up synonyms for words.
-Distribute thesauruses to students or allow them to use a thesaurus app on an iPad or other smart device.
-Pass out 10 Dead Words Synonyms Task Cards to each group (these do not have to be distributed in numerical order).
-Allow students to work together to find a more interesting synonym for the underlined word in each sentence using a thesaurus. Then, students will rewrite the sentences on the answer sheet using the new word in place of the underlined word; underline or highlight the new word in each sentence.
Students will choose 2 of the underlined words from the Dead Words Synonyms Task Cards and create their own sentences using a new, more interesting synonym for each underlined word.
We hope you enjoy this product, and we'd love to hear your feedback! :)
Heather & Ashley
c/o Watson Works
Product created by Watson Works, 2014.