To say I have been less than thrilled with my 2nd and 3rd graders’ word choice in their writing would be an understatement.  I have been finding it difficult to read my students’ writing because of their word choice.  It’s all the same–bland & boring.  And I can’t completely fault them.  Students write how they think they should write.  If they don’t know any other words to choose then how can I expect marvelous word selection?

I decided it needed to stop here.  Today my 2nd and 3rd graders worked on synonyms.  We put them on what looked like cinnamon rolls and started calling them synonym rolls.  We wrote synonyms for bad, good, said, go, & see.  I thought once I got things going it would be easy for my kids to think of additional words, but my 3rd graders had the hardest time with this.  They kept coming up with rhyming words.  And every time I would ask what a synonym was, they were able to tell me–it’s a word that means the same thing–but they couldn’t get over the whole rhyming thing.  My 2nd graders did a slightly better job at coming up with words, but occasionally would throw in some antonyms.

I introduced them to a thesaurus and how it was similar and different to a dictionary.  I showed them how I looked it up online and how it was a resource for them if they were interested in finding synonyms for other words when they write.

The students had a lot of fun just saying some of these words out loud in sentences.  Their favorite was erroneous.  After these were finished they were glued into student writing journals so they can flip to their “synonym rolls” anytime they are writing and are looking for ways to use more creative words.  I am going to be checking/testing for this later in the week when they write and will be the focus of our writing conferences.  I’m encouraged and hopeful that this will improve the writing of my 2nd and 3rd graders.

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