Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Power Words

Michelle Barlow


This lesson teaches students about synonyms and antonyms. Students also use a thesaurus to look up antonyms and synonyms.


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).

The student uses resources and references such as dictionary, thesaurus, and context to build word meanings.


-Antonym and synonym charts (see file)
-Index cards with synonyms and antonyms written on them (see file)
-Thesaurus for each student
-Antonym, synonym, and thesaurus worksheet for each child (see file)


-Make enlarged copies of the antonym and synonym definition charts to use with the class (see attached file).
-Run off enough copies of each worksheet for every student (see attached file).
-Prepare index cards for the antonym and synonym matching activities (see attached file for word lists).
-Secure a thesaurus for each child.


Day 1:
1. Begin by explaining to the students that words are powerful tools and that they are going to learn about two kinds of special words called antonyms and synonyms.
2. Display the antonym definition chart with examples and discuss them with the class (see attached file).
3. Explain to the class that they are going to practice working with antonyms by playing a matching game. Tell the class that they will each get an index card with a word written on it. They are going to have to find the other student that has the antonym for their word.
4. Allow students about 5 minutes to locate the person who has the antonym for their word.
5. After all of the students have found their match allow each pair to share their antonyms and discuss them.
6. Review the antonym chart with the class and tell the students that they will now work independently on an antonym worksheet (see attached file);
7. Go over the directions for the worksheet (see attached file) and allow students to use the rest of the time to work on the worksheet.

Day 2:
1. Begin by telling the class that they are going to continue learning about special words called synonyms.
2. Review the antonym definition chart and introduce the synonym chart (see attached file). Discuss how these words are different.
3. Tell the class that they are going to play a matching game like yesterday, but this time they are going to be matching synonyms. Give each student an index card with a word written on it and allow the class about 5 minutes to find the person that has a synonym for the word on their card.
4. Once everyone has found their synonym match, allow the groups to share their word pairs.
5. Review the synonym chart with the class.
6. Explain to the class that they are going to work on a synonym worksheet by themselves. Go over the directions to the worksheet (see attached file).
7. Allow students to use the remaining class time to complete their worksheet.

Day 3:
1. Explain to the class that they have learned about two special kinds of words.Tell them that they are now going to learn about a special book that will help them find antonyms and synonyms.
2. Review the antonym and synonym definition chart with the class. Take time to ask students for examples of each.
3. Show the students a thesaurus. Explain to the class that a thesaurus is a book that contains lists of synonyms and antonyms for words. Tell students that it is used the same way as a dictionary. Explain that the word lists are in alphabetical order like a dictionary.
4. Pass out a thesaurus to each student. Have every student find the word happy in their thesaurus.
5. When everyone has located the word happy discuss the synonyms and antonyms that are listed.
6. Give the class another word to look up and discuss. Once everyone seems comfortable using a thesaurus, assign the practice worksheet (see attached file).
7. Tell the class that they are going to practice using a thesaurus by filling in the practice worksheet. Make certain they include the page number that they find each word on, so you can be certain that they know how to use a thesaurus.
8. Allow students to use remaining class time for the worksheet.


Use the worksheets as an assesment for the students. Students should get 8 out of the 10 on each worksheet to earn 80%.


Extend this lesson by having students go back to a previous writing assignment and change some of their words within the writing to a synonym or an antonym. This activity will help students see the power of antonyms and synonyms in writing.

Modify by allowing students who need extra help play the matching game with all of the index cards again with a peer and allow a peer to help them use a thesaurus.
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