Teaching Onomatopoeias - How to Not Kerplunk the Topic

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In this teaching strategy video, we show some practical ways to teach Onomatopoeias … so you don't kerplunk the topic!

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Onomatopoeias! A simple kind of figurative language that can be so much fun to engage students with.

But like with any topic, if we're not thoughtful about our approach, we can kill it and make it boring.

Onomatopoeias, besides being the hardest figurative language to spell … They are any word we invent to communicate how to spell a sound. We have hundreds of them and use them all the time.

I doubt any of us have any problem with our kids learning this topic. The question is: how do we make it more fun?! And this one is easy.

It's one of the 5 senses: Sound. And sounds are interesting … Anything sensory is interesting.

So use this to your advantage! Start with the easy ones for them: Boom! Smack! Thump! And here's the key … Actually make the sound on different things in the room.

And then have the kids make the sounds. They love this! This is gonna be a loud lesson, and don't let that scare you.

Have a couple of containers of water filled with different levels. Drop some marbles in them and have the students write out the sound each one makes. Splunk! Plink! Kerplunk! Sploop!

Then maybe let the students pick some things they want to drop in. Record the sounds.

Let the class pick some objects that you're gonna smack the desk with. Record the spelling of the sounds.

Then keep going. Split them into groups and have them brainstorm as many sounds that aren't connected with smacking things or dropping into water. Give them 30 seconds for a practice round. Let them share the results. Then give them a longer couple of minutes and see what they come up with. Encourage them to make the noises to discover.

You'll love what they come up with, and they'll have so much fun. My favorite is plblbplbblblplb!!! I tell the class it's my favorite and write it on the board. They always look at me confused and ask what the heck that is. Then I stick my tongue out at them and blow to make the sound. They laugh. They love this stuff!

We just wanted to take this quick time to show you possibly a new way to look at teaching a topic to draw the fun out and make a lesson fun and memorable.

And it may seem contradictory, but fun lessons like this actually help with classroom management. It's why the old Batman series was great. And it's a great activity to do when you're being observed by your admin or on Parent Visitation Day or to liven up your Poetry Unit.



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