Colorful Words

Colorful Words
References Gregory, Gayle H., and Lin Kuzmich. Differentiated Literacy Strategies for Student Growth and Achievement in Grades 7-12. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, 2005.
Description Students identify rich, colorful synonyms to replace simple, common words. They then rank the words in terms of intensity of meaning by using strips of colored paper.
Rationale Learning richer vocabulary better prepares students for increased comprehension and well-developed writing.
Materials List of simple, everyday words
Strips of colored paper in tones from light to dark cut-outs of new vocabulary.
Procedure 1. Divide students into groups.

2. Give each group an overused, common word (such as "good").

3. Choice point: you may either have students brainstorm words from their own knowledge or allow them to use a dictionary or thesaurus to locate the synonyms. Or you could combine the two methods, directing students to brainstorm first and then to use a reference book or web site.

4. Students have a given time limit to identify more colorful synonyms.

5. Students rank the list of synonyms in terms of intensity of meaning.

6. Using lightest to darkest color strips, students rank the words from least intense to most intense placing the words with least intense meaning on the lightest colors on the color strip. (See example below.)

7. Groups present their colorful words to the class. They may paste the strips on posters to be displayed in the classroom.