Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Oh, Say Can You Said?

Michelle Gowan
Liberty County Schools


Students revise a document replacing the overused verb -said- with more elevated word choice.


Florida Sunshine State Standards
The student extends the vocabulary-building expectations of the sixth grade using seventh grade or higher level vocabulary.

Florida Process Standards
Effective Communicators
02 Florida students communicate in English and other languages using information, concepts, prose, symbols, reports, audio and video recordings, speeches, graphic displays, and computer-based programs.


-Pen or pencil
-Said is Dead handout (see Attached File)
-Thesaurus for every 1-2 students
-Chalkboard or markerboard
-Chalk or markers
-Overhead projector
-Overhead transparency of Said is Dead handout


1. Prepare equipment for presentation.
2. Make enough copies of the Said is Dead handout for each student and make one transparency copy for overhead use.
3. Gather thesaurus and dictionaries for student use.


1. Teachers prepare students by announcing they will read a story titled, "The Valentine's Day Dance," and they are to listen for overused word choice (see Attached File).

2. Read the Said is Dead story aloud to students using the word said in every blank. Invite students to respond with their observations to the overuse of the verb said.

3. Discuss that common words, as the word said,are overused and good writing requires elevated word choice and variety. Invite students to provide substitutions.

4. After students list 4-5 substitutions for the word said, invite them to look up the word said in the thesaurus to find additional word substitutions.

5. List student input on the board or overhead.

6. Select one or two words and work with the class to look up the words and define. Point out that some words have distinct meaning beyond the word said. Thus, word choice decisions in writing requires student decision-making in selecting the most appropriate word.

7. Assign students to select 5-10 synonyns for the word -said- from the list or from their own discovery, and to write the word and its dictionary definition on their own paper. Inform students that successful completion of the activity will be 80% correct or appropriate substitution of the word said. Students may work individually or with a partner according to teacher preference.

8. Distribute the Said is Dead handout. Have students complete the activity.

9. Upon student completion of assignment, place Said is Dead transparency on the overhead. Work with students to complete the activity using student input. Discuss student word choices during completion of the activity, correct if necessary, and celebrate and provide positive feedback.

10. Collect student vocabulary and the Said is Dead assignment. Remind them that successful completion is 80% appropriate completion. Inform students that future writings will be evaluated for overuse of common words such as said and that they should apply techniques learned in class today, e.g. peer input, thesaurus, dictionary, to substitute a variety of words in their writing.


Students complete the Said is Dead activity substituting an appropriate word choice for the word -said- 80% of the time or 4 out of 5 correct word substitutions. Less than 80% is not acceptable and students may redo for improved score/mastery.


Apply the same concept for another overused word.

Attached Files

Said is Dead Activity Sheet     File Extension: pdf

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