Tuesday, October 11, 2011

More on Multiple Meaning Words

As I was planning for this week, I realized that I need to change my approach with multiple meaning words. In the past, I've looked at teaching multiple meaning words as teaching kids how to use the context of a text to figure out which meaning of a word is being used. In this way of teaching, I've assumed that the kids know the multiple meanings--what I'm teaching them is how to tell them apart.

With this year's students, however, I need to do more. These students really need work on understanding the different meanings of words. Just matching definitions to sentences isn't enough. I need to build their vocabularies by adding new words. To this end, I created this graphic organizer:

The idea is that I'll take a multiple meaning word that has an easy-to-visualize core meaning--for an easy example, run. The core meaning of run is to move quickly over the ground. Students will write this meaning and illustrate it. Then, I'll introduce 3 other meanings: run as in to compete in an election, run as in to flow over the ground, and run as in the name for a stream. Students will write sentences to show these different meanings.

My plan is to teach a new word each week. Words that I plan to use in the future include many words that cross our content areas:

If you're planning to try this with your students, make sure that you choose multiple meaning words that come from a common source. For example, the meanings of revolution are all related. However, the meanings of wind/wind are not. If you use an online dictionary, you can find the etymology to see if the different meanings come from the same source.

We'll see how it works! I'm looking forward to helping students to see how different meanings of words can be related.

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