Shades of Meaning Vocabulary Practice With the Temperature of Words

Rated 4.88 out of 5, based on 236 reviews
236 Ratings
Two Boys and a Dad Productions
Grade Levels
2nd - 5th
Formats Included
  • PDF
29 pages
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Two Boys and a Dad Productions

What educators are saying

My students really enjoyed practicing shades of meaning with this cut and paste activity. I especially liked them using the words in their own sentences. Thank you.
I did this with my 3rd graders today. They absolutely loved it. The stories kept them interested and a little cut & paste activity is always a plus.
Also included in
  1. This vocabulary bundle includes all the resources needed to teach synonyms and shades of meaning. The bundle includes shades of meaning PowerPoint, three centers, practice resource activities, and holiday-themed activities. WHAT'S INCLUDEDSynonyms Mini-Book - start with teaching students about syn
    Price $33.50Original Price $44.50Save $11.00


Are you looking for an engaging and fun way to teach shades of meaning? Then use this shades of meaning vocabulary activity to practice word temperature or the nuances of words with different synonyms. Students will read or listen to passages and then use a thermometer to rate the intensity of vocabulary words. The thermometer lets students visually see the nuances or shades of meaning in words.

This resource is intended to teach and practice the concept of shades of meaning.


  • Students listen to a story (included) that uses words that are synonyms but have different shades of meaning (e.g., sleep, doze, catnap, siesta, nap, snooze).
  • As they listen to the story, they put a word card on the thermometer to indicate the meaning's intensity (or, in this case, temperature).
  • When done, the words will be in order from "freezing" to "boiling" on the thermometer.
  • As the teacher reads the story, the students can discuss the more appropriate word for the story's context, thus understanding shades of meaning.


--> 3 sets of words (1 State of Mind, 1 Adjective, 1 Verb)

and each set contains

  • thermometer with words, including one blank page for adding your words
  • an original story for each thermometer to give context
    • A Darkly Lit Street (for the state of mind)
    • A Restless Night (for verb)
    • Halloween (for adjective)
  • answer key for each story
  • large word cards for display, including one blank page for adding your words
  • definition cards for each set of words, including one blank page for your use
  • page of 4 blank thermometers to add your own set of words
  • page of 3 blank word cards to add your own set of words
  • 2 Visual Examples of Shades of Meaning using verb synonyms (posters)

This resource can be used

  • whole-class setting
  • small group
  • partner work
  • independent work
  • literacy center.


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Kathleen F. says, "I did this with my 3rd graders today. They absolutely loved it. The stories kept them interested and a little cut & paste activity is always a plus."

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Debbie D. says, "This was a great resource for teaching shades of meaning. The packet provided great visuals and examples of how word choice and shades of meaning can make a huge difference."

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Patricia L. says, "It’s a meaningful product. It helps the students to visual the different meaning of words, and they are able to arrange the words according to their differences. The best part of it is they are learning to use the words in their sentences. "

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Copyright © Two Boys and a Dad Productions

All rights reserved by the author.

Permission to copy for single classroom use only.

Permission to use on secure digital learning management system platforms (such as Google Classroom, Teams, Canva, etc.)


Interested in more resources for English Language Arts for:

★ character analysis

★ central message

★ point of view and perspectives

★ literature companion packs

★ literary centers

★ shades of meaning

★ commas and addresses

★ vocabulary assessments

★ narrative writing

★ ELA games


Use the CUSTOM CATEGORY Shades of Meaning to find additional resources to teach this concept.


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Total Pages
29 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
30 minutes
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Distinguish shades of meaning among closely related verbs (e.g., toss, throw, hurl) and closely related adjectives (e.g., thin, slender, skinny, scrawny).
Distinguish shades of meaning among related words that describe states of mind or degrees of certainty (e.g., knew, believed, suspected, heard, wondered).


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