Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Down the Knoll Without the Water

Lee Strain
Polk County Schools


Students revise fairy tales or nursery rhymes using a thesaurus. They give synonyms for a selected word.


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

The student uses an effective organizational pattern and substantial support to achieve a sense of completeness or wholeness (for example, considering audience, choosing effective words, sequencing events; using specific details to clarify meaning).


-Copy of Jack and Jill written on chart paper
-Copy of a nursery rhyme rewritten on chart paper for each group
-Marker for each group
-Sticky labels
-Thesaurus for each student/group
-Copy of Little Jack Horner revised
-Dictionary for each group


1. Make a copy of the nursery rhyme Jack and Jill on chart paper.
2. Make copies of nursery rhymes on chart paper for each group. See Weblink for nursery rhymes.
3. Children need to be familiar with using a thesaurus and sentence structure.
4. Create sentences for the groups to revise for assessment.
5. Choose 3 words from a previously written essay for each student to revise using the thesaurus.


Day 1

1. Read the revised version of Little Jack Horner:
Little Jack Horner sat in the corner,
Devouring his Christmas pie;
He deposited in his thumb and pulled out a plum,
And alleged, "What a good lad am I!"

2. Ask the students if they noticed anything different about the rhyme.

3. Ask students which resource they could use to help make a piece of writing more exciting.

4. Pass out a thesaurus to each student/group.

5. Display the nursery rhyme, Jack and Jill, rewritten on chart paper.

6. Using a sticky note to cover the word, hill. Tell children to make this rhyme more exciting by changing a few words without changing the meaning. Have the students look up the word hill in the thesaurus. Review the information. Get suggestions for a new word to use. (For example: knoll)

7. Write the new word on the sticky note and stick it over the word, hill.

8. Continue this procedure using the words: get, broke, tumbling

9. Have the class reread the new version aloud.

1. Divide the class into groups.

2. Give each group a nursery rhyme, marker, sticky notes, and thesaurus.

3. Each group is to use the thesaurus to replace a minimum of 3-4 words in their assigned nursery rhymes.

4. When the groups have completed the task, have the groups share their new rhymes.


Formative Assessment
Each group revises teacher-made sentences using a dictionary and thesaurus. Groups must explain to the class why the words chosen are good choices.

Formative Assessment
Student revises 3 words chosen by the teacher in a previously written essay. This should be done when the teacher feels comfortable that the student can successfully use the dictionary and thesaurus to make good word choices.


Students could revise fairy tales and make big books for the classroom library.
This lesson could be used to teach students to use an online thesaurus.

Web Links

Web supplement for Down the Knoll Without the Water

This site contains the text of popular nursery rhymes.
Nursery Rhymes

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