- I found a wonderful list of character traits on Read-Write-Think (click here) that I highlighted. I had my student choose their character trait from the list above, or from one of the following downloads. (Additional lists: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. All were downloads from Google Images.)
- I taught my students how to use tagul.com, which is a word cloud generator (see images above).
- I also taught my students how to use thesaurus.com as a way to find synonyms and antonyms for a word.
- Each student chose a word from the list (and determined its natural antonym with help from the thesaurus) and created a word cloud for it using the synonyms that were listed on thesaurus.com - They clicked on their preferred antonym and used the synonyms from that word's list for their second word cloud.
- Finally, I asked that my students submit their word clouds to me via a form that I posted on our website (scroll down to the bottom of the page to see it) and post their word clouds on their ePortfolios with a reflection.
I think that this 75-minute activity was a good exercise in thinking, because I asked them to delete any words or phrases that they did not know, or did not accurately reflect the definition of the word. They also had to decide on an antonym that was as close to the opposite of the original word as they could come up with. Finally, they had to remember (or use their notes that they took) to do all of the technology pieces of the activity. By the end, my students told me that they were mentally drained, but that they enjoyed the activity. Exactly what I hoped for!!!
This kind of activity is a fresh, new way of teaching students how to use a thesaurus. It is also a vocabulary lesson where students have some input on the words they are learning. My students were engaged during the entire activity, and now have a resource to use in the coming days when we start to analyze the characters in our shared reading: Wonder, by R.J. Palacio.