ALEX Learning Activity

Name That -nym

A Learning Activity is a strategy a teacher chooses to actively engage students in learning a concept or skill using a digital tool/resource.

  This learning activity provided by:  
Author: Marcus Jackson
System:Chickasaw City
School:Chickasaw City Elementary School
  General Activity Information  
Activity ID: 1554
Name That -nym
Digital Tool/Resource:
Word Frog Arcademics
Web Address – URL:

In this activity, the students will be introduced to antonyms, synonyms, and homonyms using examples on index cards. Teaching students to read and write often involves teaching them about how language works in general. This lesson focuses on strategies you can use for teaching synonyms, antonyms, and homonyms. Giving students an understanding of the aforementioned phenomena leads to better comprehension, better spelling, and more expressive writing. 

This activity results from the ALEX Resource Development Summit.

  Associated Standards and Objectives  
Content Standard(s):
English Language Arts
ELA2015 (2015)
Grade: 4
41 ) Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on Grade 4 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies. [L.4.4]

a. Use context (e.g., definitions, examples, or restatements in text) as a clue to the meaning of a word or phrase. [L.4.4a]

b. Use common, grade-appropriate Greek and Latin affixes and roots as clues to the meaning of a word (e.g., telegraph, photograph, autograph). [L.4.4b]

c. Consult reference materials (e.g., dictionaries, glossaries, thesauruses), both print and digital, to find the pronunciation and determine or clarify the precise meaning of key words and phrases. [L.4.4c]

English Language Arts
ELA2015 (2015)
Grade: 4
42 ) Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings. [L.4.5]

a. Explain the meaning of simple similes and metaphors (e.g., as pretty as a picture) in context. [L.4.5a]

b. Recognize and explain the meaning of common idioms, adages, and proverbs. [L.4.5b]

c. Demonstrate understanding of words by relating them to their opposites (antonyms) and to words with similar but not identical meanings (synonyms). [L.4.5c]

Learning Objectives:

The students will be able to:

  • demonstrate an understanding of words by relating them to opposites (antonyms) and to words with similar but not identical meanings (synonyms).
  • determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words.
  • consult reference materials (thesaurus) to find the pronunciation and determine or clarify the precise meaning of keywords.
  Strategies, Preparations and Variations  
Before/Engage, During/Explore/Explain

  1. The teacher will introduce the words antonyms, synonyms, and homonyms to the students. The teacher will provide a definition for each word.  Antonyms: words that have an opposite meaning, Synonyms: words that have a similar meaning, Homonyms: words that sound alike but may have a different spelling and meaning.
  2. The teacher will provide the students with examples for each word. The teacher should write the examples and the type of example on index cards.  Synonyms-words that mean the same or nearly the same  (above & over), antonyms opposite meaning (asleep & awake), homonym- words that sound alike but have a different meaning and spelling (flour & flower). As the teacher shows the word sets (antonyms, synonyms, homonyms) the teacher will reinforce the meaning of each word by using the examples for each word. The teacher will use the examples in sentences......For example, I went above and over my goal for reading non-fiction books this year. (Synonyms) I could hardly stay asleep as my dad's snoring kept me awake. (Antonyms) Please pick the flowers from the garden and place them inside of the coconut flour vase. (Homonyms)
  3. The teacher will introduce the students to a thesaurus. The teacher will teach the students how to use a thesaurus, as well as the thesaurus function on their classroom computer or use hard copies, to locate meaningful synonyms.
  4. The teacher will make a three-way chart (graphic organizer) and label each section antonyms, synonym, and homonym. The teacher will show the students cards that have synonyms (big/large, beautiful/pretty, funny/comical, introverted/shy) antonyms (boy/girl, entrance/exit, interior/exterior), and homonyms (peace/piece, right/write, board/bored, peace/piece) written on them. The teacher will ask the students to select which column the words set fits underneath. As the students share their finding, as a group, chart the answers (or tape the index cards) on the chart paper as a visual and as a way of checking for understanding.
  5. As a culminating activity, the class will play the game Word Frog Arcademics (click on the link). The game can be played in the whole group or in a small group or can be used as a center activity.
Assessment Strategies:

The teacher will check for understanding as the students share their findings underneath the correct column heading on the class three-way chart.

The teacher will also check for understanding while students play the Word Frog Arcademics game.

Advanced Preparation:

The teacher should familiarize themselves with the proper use of synonyms, antonyms, and homonyms.


Variation Tips (optional):

  1. The students can be provided with a teacher made a copy of a cross-word search puzzle which may contain a mixture of synonyms, antonyms, and homonyms.
  2. The students can use words from the anchor chart to write a story about the "NYM family". 
  3. The teacher can create worksheets designed to have students match synonyms, antonyms, or homonyms with each other.
  4. The students can create illustrated synonyms, antonyms, and homonyms dictionaries, drawing pictures to go along with pairs they find interesting.
  5. The students can pantomime the meaning of words.



Notes or Recommendations (optional):

The teacher may use this resource as an introduction lesson to teaching shades of meaning and vocabulary words in whole group or small group.  

  Keywords and Search Tags  
Keywords and Search Tags: Antonyms, Homonyms, Synonyms, thesaurus