Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Nym Family

Deborah Maksymyk


Anot-Nym always argues. When you say, "up" he says, "down." Charting the Nym family with this activity will assist to increase vocabulary, using antonyms, synonyms, and homonyms.


The student uses a variety of strategies to determine meaning and increase vocabulary (for example, multiple meaning words, antonyms, synonyms, word relationships, root words, homonyms).


-Wrapped candy of your choice. At least one for each child.
-Drawing paper--any size you have on hand.
-Pencils or markers.
-Classroom white/chalk board.
-Pocket chart, if you are not using the board.
-Sentence strips, if you are using the pocket chart.


1. Buy prewrapped candy such as, M&Mís, Butterfingers, etc.
2. Gather drawing paper for student made charts.
3. Brainstorm antonyms, synonyms, and homonyms and have a list ready for your chart on the board and for the candy wrappers.
4. Write different pairs of Ďnymsí on wrappers, writing one set on each wrapper. For instance, on one wrapper write son-sun, using an assortment of words you want the children to learn.
5. On the day of the lesson, draw a chart on the board with three columns. Label one column with Syno-Nym, one with Anto-Nym and the other with Homo-nym.


1. Review synonyms, antonyms and homonyms from third grade.

2. Make a chart on the board with three columns; one for each part of the Nym family. Under each family name, write the definition of each. For example, under Syno-Nym write, "Words that have the same meaning but do not sound the same." Or, under Snyo-Nym write, "Syno-Nym is a copy-cat. When you say little, she says, tiny." Do the same for other two columns, using Anto-Nym and Homo-Nym. (Homo-Nym sounds the same, it's the meaning that's tricky, he always sounds the same.) Ask children to give examples of each Nym member. For example, sun and son for homonyms, push and pull for antonyms, etc.

3. As a review, have the students elicit responses, and write them on the board in appropriate column or use a pocket chart with the three headings of each, making cards from sentence strips as the children respond.

4. Pass out prepackaged candy such as Butterfingers, M&Mís, etc. to each child.

5. Tell the children they are to read the words that you have written on the wrapper of their candy and when called they will stand and tell whether the words are from the synonym, antonym or homonym family.

6. Give positive feedback as you proceed to each child.

7. After each child has responded, pass out drawing paper.

8. Tell the children they are to make a chart like the one you made on the board.

9. Tell the children they may eat the candy from their wrapper as they draw the chart.

10. On the board, write several words for each part of the Nym family. For instance, write the words: up, pretty, sun. Place each word in the appropriate column on your chart.

11. Pass out dictionaries and thesauruses.

12. The children will use the words on the board and find the corresponding mate in a reference material and place in the correct column on their chart. For example, when they find /pretty/ in the thesaurus they will place it in the synonym column and write /beautiful/ next to it. Remind the children that some words may fit one, two or all three of the columns. For instance, pretty and beautiful in synonyms column, but also, pretty and ugly in the antonyms column.

13. Tell the children they must correctly place ten pairs of words under each column. They should not use the pairs you placed in your chart at the beginning of the lesson. They should have ten new pairs under each column. (These new pairs will come from the individual words you placed in the columns for them to find in the reference materials. You may want to list more than ten so the children will have a choice from which to choose.)

14. Monitor children as they complete their charts, reminding them to try to place some words in all three columns.

15. After approximately 20-25 minutes, take up the charts. If a child placed ten new pairs in each column and placed them in the correct column assign the paper an 'A'. For each pair not placed or not placed in correct column subtract three points.


Students, using thesaurus, dictionary and teacher modeling will produce a catagorically correct chart to demonstrate an increase in vocabulary and meaning using:

Formatively assess the student made chart. Monitor students as needed. Provide feedback to students not filling in chart. Give students the opportunity to work with a peer, if needed.


Some students may need assistance using the dictionary or thesaurus. Review guide words and model finding words in the reference books, if needed.
As an extension to the lesson, the children would use the words to write about the Nym Family or their own family. Also, you may want the children to fill in their chart with the words you put on the board. If so, these words should be in a different color so you will know the new words they write.

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