Shades of Meaning Discussion Cards

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134 Ratings
Two Boys and a Dad Productions
Grade Levels
2nd - 5th
Resource Type
Formats Included
  • PDF
11 pages
Two Boys and a Dad Productions


Use these vocabulary cards to prompt discussion among students about the nuances or shades of meaning of words (adjectives, verbs, and states of mind). Once your students understand the concept of shades of meaning, they are ready to practice with synonyms. These cards can be used in partners, small group or whole group.


  • Given a card with three synonyms that vary in shades of meaning, students ask their partner or group questions using one of the target words.
  • The questions are printed on the cards using various synonyms.
  • The questions are mostly open-ended and are designed to elicit expanded responses.
  • Each student(s) listens and responds to the questions.
  • This gives students the opportunity to practice using synonyms and their shades of meaning in real discussions with their peers.
  • Discussions should probably be modeled first by the teacher so that discussion expectations are clear.


  • Twelve cards are included with a blank master to add your own words and questions.
  • No answer key is provided as discussions are open-ended.
  • The cards can be rotated among partner groups or small groups so that opportunities for practice are available for all the words.
  • The words selected were chosen to reflect key vocabulary associated with St. Patrick’s Day.
  • A blank template to add your own words (it's also a fillable PDF form).


  • Use with the whole class initially until students are comfortable with the format.
  • Students can create their own discussion cards using the blank template.
  • This is an opportunity for older students to complete a mini-project by making a set of discussion cards.
  • Laminate the cards for future use.

A sample page of Shades of Meaning Discussion Cards Version 2.0 is included!


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Synonyms and Shades of Meaning PowerPoint Lessons and Printables


Interested in more resources for English Language Arts for:

★ character analysis

★ central message

★ character point of view and perspectives

★ literature companion packs

★ literary centers

★ shades of meaning

★ commas and addresses

★ vocabulary assessments

★ narrative writing

★ ELA games



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Total Pages
11 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
30 minutes
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Ask and answer questions about what a speaker says in order to clarify comprehension, gather additional information, or deepen understanding of a topic or issue.
Ask and answer questions about information from a speaker, offering appropriate elaboration and detail.
Pose and respond to specific questions to clarify or follow up on information, and make comments that contribute to the discussion and link to the remarks of others.
Pose and respond to specific questions by making comments that contribute to the discussion and elaborate on the remarks of others.
Distinguish shades of meaning among closely related verbs (e.g., toss, throw, hurl) and closely related adjectives (e.g., thin, slender, skinny, scrawny).


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