Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Mean Meanings

Martha Todd
Santa Rosa District Schools


Students look up multiple definitions of a word and make sentences. These are shared with classmates who select the word that should fit in the sentence. Students write their own sentences to demonstrate understanding.


The student uses a variety of strategies to monitor reading in fourth-grade or higher texts (for example, rereading, self-correcting, summarizing, checking other sources, class and group discussions, questioning whether text makes sense, searching for cues, identifying miscues).

The student uses a variety of strategies to monitor reading in fifth-grade or higher level texts (for example, adjusting reading rate according to purpose and text difficulty, rereading, self-correcting, summarizing, checking other sources, class and group discussions, trying an alternate word).


- Dictionaries (1 per 2 students)
- Paper and pencils for all students
- Sentence strips
- Markers
- Board/chalk


1. Prepare a list of multiple meaning words appropriate for your students. Be sure to introduce some new meanings. (see Multiple Meaning Words- attached)
2. Gather needed materials.
3. Run one copy of Evaluation (attached) per student.


1. Ask one of the students in the class to give you a ring. They will be confused- -discuss why this is a confusing request. Help them realize that using words with multiple meaning can be confusing. Without the word being used in context, it is often impossible to know which meaning of the word is being used. Then say, “John, when you get home today, please give me a ring.- Discuss the meaning of -ring- in this sentence and why it was easier to know what type of -ring- was being used.

2. Brainstorm and list several words that have multiple meanings. Use some of the suggested words and a few harder ones to do the rest of the lesson. (See Multiple Meaning Words, attached, for suggestions.)

3. Students work in pairs using a dictionary to write at least two definitions for each word. They will also write sentences using those definitions for two of the words assigned by the teacher.

4. Definitions and sentences are checked by the teacher. (Teacher monitors as they write.)

5. When approved, students write their sentences, leaving out the multiple meaning word, on sentence strips.

6. Sentence strips are turned in to the teacher.

7. The teacher writes words from the dictionary activity on the board.

8. Each student selects a sentence to read aloud to the class, and the other students decide which word correctly completes the sentence.

9. After this activity, students are assigned to write sentences with four of the words. Explain that they are to:
1) Write two sentences with each word- -each sentence must use a different meaning of the word.
2) Demonstrate the correct meaning of the word in their sentences.
3) Demonstrate understanding of the word. (The following sentence is not acceptable- -Give me the ring. It would not demonstrate understanding of the word.)

10. Sentences are collected and assessed by the teacher using the Evaluation Form (attached). Papers are returned to the students, and individual conferences are held with students needing more help.


Students select four words used in the lesson and write two sentences with each word that demonstrates their understanding of the different meanings of the word. Students must:
- Write two sentences with each of the four words- -each using a different meaning.
- Use the word correctly in each sentence.
- Demonstrate knowledge of the meanings of each word.

Students should get ten of the twelve items correct. (83%) (see Evaluation Form, attached)

Note: This is a formative assessment of the GLE (at either of the two grade levels). Since the activity only addresses a portion of the GLE, mastery cannot be determined yet. Additional instruction/assessment is needed.


- Write the words on sentence strips and use them along with the sentences written by the students for a center.

- A written test using words discussed in your lesson could be given at the conclusion of the activity.
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