Owning the Definition of a Word

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SWBAT use relationships between words to better understand them by creating examples, non-examples, and sentences with vocabulary words.

Big Idea

I looked it up, so now what?


15 minutes

To begin this day's lesson, I have students take out the vocabulary graphic organizer we started yesterday.  I will ask them to look through it and remember what we did in class.  I'm always taken aback by 7th-grade lesson amnesia.  Even though I remember every minute detail about yesterday, they are at a loss to remember what they did a short 24 hours ago.

I will lead a quick whole-class discussion to make sure that everyone remembers why we are investigating the meanings of these particular words.

Getting Down to Business

45 minutes

Today in class, we will go through each vocabulary word and discuss as a class the following:

  • an example of what the word is or brings to mind.
  • an example of what that word is NOT
  • an original sentence with the word


This is one of my favorite types of activities.  I am always amazed at what kids will come up with as examples of words.  I love where our conversations lead.  Today is about creating schema for news words.

Did They Get It?

5 minutes

At the end of our discussion, I will take a few minutes to again talk about why we're spending so much time talking about what these words mean.  While it's fun to learn new words (fun for Word Nerds, at least), the goal of these past few lessons is to be able to read a rigorous text and not only understand it, but also get the joke.

After we have read the piece, students will be responsible for the definitions of these words on a summative assessment test.