Shades of Meaning Character Feelings Synonyms Adjectives Vocabulary RL3.3

Grade Levels
3rd - 5th, Homeschool
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20 pages
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Teaching shades of meaning (word nuances) can be tricky, especially when students lack vocabulary and don't understand subtle, but important, differences between synonyms. This essential resource was intentionally designed to get students thinking about the importance of shades of meaning with regard to being specific when understanding or describing characters' feelings in the stories they read.

Students analyze different situations in which various intensities of feelings are experienced and order those degrees of feeling from high to low intensities. The activities in this resource provide students a forum for discussing their reasoning based on situations given in the sentences in which emotion vocabulary words are used.

The purpose of this resource is two-fold: to increase students' vocabulary AND to get students to notice the subtle but important differences between words that are synonymous. Understanding shades of meaning within emotion words expands their ability to describe a character's feelings more specifically given the character's situation and intensity of that feeling. (i.e. A person who has won the lottery would best be described as "ecstatic" rather than "happy.") This in turn, increases students' depth of comprehension when analyzing an author's word choice.


Note: Students AREN’T just given a set of words to order according to their intensities. This resource provides the support students need to understand shades of meaning by providing the context in which the words are used and scaffolding activities accordingly.

A colorful interactive digital version has been added.

Learning targets:

✔ Students learn an array of vocabulary words associated with four main feelings: happy, sad, mad, and scared.

✔ Students analyze situations in which these words apply and determine the intensities of these feelings. (high, medium, low)

✔ Students understand the difference between similar words (i.e. furious and angry)

✔ Students apply their knowledge of these shades of meaning by creating sentences that use and show the different intensities of these feelings.

✔ Students describe what a person might look like when experiencing different intensities of these four main feelings.

✔ Students demonstrate their understanding of these shades of meaning through word associations.

This resource includes:

  • Shades of Feelings poster (can also be found in my Character Traits Toolkit)
  • An introductory activity (I do, we do)
  • A practice active to go with the introduction (you do)
  • An application activity: students describe what someone might look like or do when experiencing various intensities of feelings
  • 4 Interactive Notebook templates to apply their knowledge of the different shades of meaning
  • 1 blank INB template to use with words of your choice
  • 3 pages of word association activities (2 degrees of a feeling on each page)
  • 1 blank template for students to make their own word associations
  • answer keys
  • teacher notes for implementation support and suggested activities to expand instruction

See what teachers and students ❤️love❤️ about this resource:

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐Jessica S. wrote- "This is fantastic! My students learned so much and loved how the emojis were incorporated :) THANK YOU!"

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐Lashonda wrote- "Such a fun way to teach shades of meaning! The kids (and I include myself when I say kids) enjoyed the emojis. This was outstanding!"

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Carley P. wrote- "Shades of meaning can be a hard skill to teach. This really helps to put it on the students' level!"

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐Nicole K. wrote- "This resource brought up great discussions about vocabulary and strong word choice."

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐Samantha M. wrote- "They loved it! Also helped them identify more appropriate words for their feelings."

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐The Gilded Classroom wrote- "Loved these. Made my students really think and use context clues. Thanks!"

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐Stacy B. wrote- "The students were highly engaged in the activity."

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐Rocio B. wrote- "An excellent resource. My students loved that it was emoji themed!"

❤️This resource goes perfectly with...

Character Traits, Feelings, Motives Toolkit 3rd Grade

Describing Characters, Settings, & Events in Literature Toolkit 4th Grade

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Copyright © Cherie Marie- Teaching with Intentionality

Permission to copy for single classroom use only.

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Total Pages
20 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Distinguish shades of meaning among related words that describe states of mind or degrees of certainty (e.g., knew, believed, suspected, heard, wondered).
Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.


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