1 Semantic Gradient Blackline
•easy to use
•reproducible, make what you need
•use with small groups or whole class
Semantic gradients are powerful tools to teach elementary students the differences between related words and increase their vocabulary.
This method of improving reading comprehension works with both English Language Learners and native English speakers and offers classroom teachers a vehicle to reach the needs of all of students. This type of gradient helps students distinguish between the subtle nuances of meaning of related words and broadens their understanding of connected words. Furthermore, gradients show all students how to use vocabulary precisely when expressing themselves in speaking and writing.
Semantic gradients are lists of related words that have similar meanings placed on a continuum moving from one word to its opposite. It is a continuum that order related words by degree.
These gradients use anchor words (words and their opposites) at each end of the gradient. The words used in between gradually shift in meaning.
For example, freezing and sweltering would be the anchor words for a semantic gradient of temperature words that included the following: freezing, cold, cool, warm, hot, roasting, and sweltering.
How do you use a Semantic Gradient?
Identify your 2 anchor words by choosing a word and finding its opposite.
Find synonyms for each of those words and order them to create your word list.
Students then order the words to create a gradient or continuum.