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Lesson Plan - Synonyms and Antonyms

Grade 6 (adaptable for other grades)


Claudia Richardson


NE Standards:

4.4.1                   By the end of the fourth grade, students will identify, describe, and apply knowledge of the structure of the English language and Standard English conventions for sentence structure, usage, punctuation, capitalization, and spelling.



        Students will be able to identify and use synonyms and antonyms.

        Students will be able to use synonyms and antonyms to make their writing more interesting.



Cardboard word cards

Blank paper




Anticipatory Set: Discuss with the students the importance of using descriptive words in their writing assignments. Talk about how this lesson will help them not use the same descriptive words over and over again.


Vocabulary: CAN VARY!

Example words:
















****Vocabulary for this lesson could be pulled directly from student's writings!

After selecting your words, select a synonym for each word. Wit a black marker, write the 30 words on the cards. Mix up the cards. Pick another 15 words, then an antonym for each word (total 30). Now write these words n the back of the other cards that have been mixed up in a red pen. Now, when the students flip over the cards, they will have to go to a different person to find the match.



1.       1. Give each student a word card

2.     Tell students to look at the word written in black.

3.     Tell the students to find the person with a word that has a similar meaning.

4.     After everyone has found a match, ask if anyone knows what these words are called that have the same meaning (synonyms).

5.     Have students, in their pairs, think of two more synonyms for their words. (If students are having difficulty, you may wish to provide them with a thesaurus.)

6.     Tell the students to think of one sentence that can be sued with either word so the sentence has the same meaning.

7.     In pairs still, have the students read their word cards, tell their two synonyms they came up with and read their sentences using each of the words.

8.     Turn the cards over to the red letter words.

9.     Tell the students to find the person with a word that has an opposite meaning. (antonyms)

10.  Ask if anyone knows what words are called with opposite meanings.

11.   Repeat steps 5-7 for antonyms, creating sentences with opposite meanings.


Provisions for special needs: A list of the paired words could be provided for a student with special needs. Also a thesaurus could be given to the student was well. Working in pairs is effective for special needs. Before the lesson you could provide some examples of pairs of synonyms and antonyms.



1.                             Give students a paragraph that uses a repeating word. Ex. The girl had a wonderful time at the dance. The music was wonderful. She wore a wonderful dress. Have the students rewrite the paragraph using synonyms, so that the paragraph has the same meaning, but is more interesting.

2.                            Give the students a paragraph and have them replace words with antonyms so that the paragraph has the opposite meaning.



1.       Evaluate the students' paragraphs for appropriate, effective replacement of the repeated descriptive words.