Mistaking a homophone play on words, with a misunderstanding of what homophones are, in my classroom led to this lesson. My reflection details the way it unfolded, but suffice it to say, my reaction was, "the kids need a homophone lesson." It's imperative that by 5th grade they aren't making homophone errors in their writing. Spell check is a favorite crutch for students, but taking spell check into consideration- most of the programs don't recognize when a homophone is in play in a sentence. Homophone Cartoon
We begin the lesson with a review of homophones (words spelled differently with different meanings, but sound the same) by writing one word of a pair, on the board, and having the kids come up with its homophone. This is done easily. Next, I move their attention to the Smart Board where I've written the heading, "Familiar Stories." Familiar Stories and Homophone Review Their task is to give me suggestions for as many familiar fairy tales, etc. that will fit on the board. We fill it up easily. Even if a familiar tale isn't on the Smart Board, they use a story of their choice for the main activity.
I pick sticks to put the kids into groups of four Discussing short story ideas for the warm up activity. They create a short story using homophone pairs. Discussing Story Ideas The purpose is to practice using homophones in a storyline that makes sense. Each student tells part of the story. They find another group and present their story to them. Two groups share their stories with each other
I then tell them that they will be forming groups Getting Started (their choice this time, I want them to work with one or two kids who will have similar ideas) Getting Started and selecting a familiar story. It doesn't have to be listed on the board, but the examples may make it easier. What they'll do after they've chosen the story is rewrite it, Getting Started using as many homophone pairs or trios, as possible. These homophones must be worked into the story logically in a way that keeps the continuity of the plot intact. Moving right along with the story!
This is a complex assignment, and I tell the kids as much. When they hear the word "homophone" it may take them back to the worksheets and pictures of 2nd and 3rd grade, but this activity refreshes their knowledge, and challenges them to apply it.
Once they've agreed on a story, it's time to begin the writing of it. Some kids choose to use a copy Using the actual story for inspiration of the original story as a guide. Story Rewrite: Focus Homophones/List on pg. 3 worksheet. I provide a list of homophones and lined paper for them, along with a sheet to keep track of all of the homophones, and give a total of how many pairs they used. This accountability is a good motivator in helping them to keep on task., and they work well. Groups working There is also that sense of competition to see if they will be the group who's able to come up with the most.
The stories are rewritten, the homophones are rampant and the kids are ready to share with the class. They have been using the relationship between homophones to better understand their revised stories, a direct link to L.5.5. and the class can't wait to hear them. Sharing "Rewritten" Cinderella Sometimes I read it aloud if the group doesn't want to do it. I want each story shared because I'm eager for the class to hear just how clever all of these rewrites have turned out.
The competition was a good motivator, but the clear winner was the group who rewrote, The Sneetches and Other Stories. These three boys successfully used twenty homophone pairs, List of Homophones used and final total not an easy task, to put together an entertaining story that made sense.