‘Synonym’ Rolls!

Quote Of The Day: “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not!” – Dr. Seuss

What I Am Hanging Hope On: This past lesson was titled ‘Synonym Rolls’ after an activity students completed during the lesson. The EQ to guide today’s teaching was: how can the synonyms help me add detail to my writing? I began by reading two passages- one with detail, one without. Students were asked to compare the two passages and select which did a better job of helping the reader visualize the scene. Students chose the passage with detail- which led perfectly into a discussion on word choice and synonyms!

To create their ‘synonym rolls’ students cut paper into the shape of a cinnamon bun. Each child was given a simple word such as cold or smart to then come up with synonyms for. They wrote out the synonyms around their ‘synonym rolls’. I thought this would be an easy activity, but it proved challenging. Many students would think of only one or two synonyms then give up. To relate this back to my quote, I told students that not trying is not an option! We cannot expect to grow in our knowledge without pushing ourselves. Additionally, I showed them a thesaurus! This proved to be a great resource in the creation of their ‘synonym rolls’!

How I Am Feeling: Overall,  I feel pretty good about the lesson! The progression of events flowed smoothly and built off of one another. It was fun to hear students brainstorming synonyms and seeing their excitement over a simple tool such as the thesaurus!

A Wish For Tomorrow: If I were to teach this lesson again, I might think of another way to get students brainstorming synonyms. Once we thought of a few as a class, it seemed their brains suddenly became full of ideas and they couldn’t stop sharing! It was the initial thinking of a synonym that proved challenging. Any suggestions on how to get students thinking and better understanding the concept of synonyms?

I am thinking of starting the year off with a lesson like this. I want to teach my students the importance of word choice. We as writers are great artist. Our paint is the words we choose to create an image. I wonder if their are any great read aloud materials to inspire students to be creative and not be afraid to express themselves via pencil and paper.

Food For Thought: This was my final observed lesson taught at the Summer Learning Place. When I reflect back on the goals I set for myself at the start of the experience, I feel accomplished. I have built relationships with my students and seen much progress. Overall, it was a great experience!


5 thoughts on “‘Synonym’ Rolls!

  1. It was a fun lesson and I like the idea of synonym rolls. As I mentioned, you might use a sentence strip with a blank for the word you want synonyms for and another word so they can use it in context. (ex. _____monster – give synonyms for scary). This might help them see if their word makes sense or not.


  2. Lauren,

    This is such a unique and creative idea. I can relate to feeling frustrated when students want to give up so easily. I was happy to read that you kept motivating them to continue with their activity.


  3. This post made me hungry! I love creating lessons that engage students interests…who doesn’t like cinnamon rolls! It is normal to notice that even the simplest activities and lessons can be difficult for some students. What matters is our ability to recognize what didn’t go as well and know where to go from there to help our students.


  4. Lauren,
    I love your lesson idea. What a fun way to make writing fun and active. It reminds me of a center I did with my fourth graders of “roll-a-story”. Students rolled dice and the number corresponded to one of the five story elements. After they rolled five times, they wrote their story across all five elements. Also, at Target you can buy story dice which is a great way to get students writing creatively. I love how creative you are with your teaching ideas. I always find you such an inspiration for great teaching.
    My best,


  5. Lauren,
    I really enjoyed reading about your “synonym rolls.” I especially liked how you introduced students to a thesaurus…great accommodation. I was trying to think of some suggestions–I have two. 1) Give each of your students both a printed-out picture and word. Have the students then generate their synonym rolls. Be sure to model an example so that students better understand you’re expecting “x” amount of synonyms. 2) I would also incorporate laptops or Ipads and introduce the thesaurus software in Microsoft Word. That way, you’d be targeting digital literacy, making a very meaningful application, and applying assistive technology. Hope this helps. Great job!


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