Onomatopoeia: Bam, bing, pow!

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SWBAT define Onomatopoeia and identify it in text.

Big Idea

Introducing the concept of Onomatopoeia


Since students just learned the difference between figurative and literal language in the last unit, I like to spend time teaching different types of figurative language. Onomatopoeia is an interesting word, both to say and spell, and kids enjoy it because it is unique. This is a fun unit for kids because they love sounds and sound effects. Once they learn the definition of it, it will become one of their favorite things to talk about. Not only will they notice it being used in text very often, they will also understand the importance of using Onomatopoeia to make text more interesting.


I like to spend a sufficient amount of time on each strategy to allow for an introduction, modeling, scaffolding, independent practice, assessment, and reflection. Therefore, I spend approximately one week on each strategy and follow a similar instructional routine. This is day one of Onomatopoeia Week – Introducing the Strategy. 


10 minutes

Connection: I always start by connecting today’s lesson to something kids have previously learned so that it triggers their schema and background knowledge. Since this is the first they are learning about Onomatopoeia this year, I remind of the difference between figurative and literal language and tell them that we are going to learn about different types of figurative language.  


Teaching Point: This is when I tell kids explicitly what we will be working on. I say, “This week, we will be focusing on Onomatopoeia, which is when sounds are put into word form. At first, students will look confused and not understand. Then I show the anchor chart and share the examples and they get it instantly.     


Active Engagement: This is where students get to try out the strategy that I just taught them. I ask them if they can come up with some Onomatopoeia examples on their own. I usually give them a minute of thinking time and then time to turn and talk, but their enthusiasm with this task is usually too big to suppress, so I just let them start calling them out.


Link to Ongoing Work: During this portion of the mini-lesson, I give the students a task that they will focus on during Independent Reading time. Now that I’ve introduced Onomatopoeia, I tell them that when they are reading today, their job is just to notice Onomatopoeia while reading one of the books in their browsing boxes. I explain that they will not always find Onomatopoeia in every book, but that really great authors use it to make their writing more interesting. I remind them that I will randomly choose a few students to share so that they make sure to complete their task.


Guided Practice

45 minutes

Transition Time: Every day after the mini-lesson, students get 5 minutes of Prep Time to choose new books (if needed), find a comfy spot, use the bathroom, and anything else they might need to do to prepare for 40 minutes of uninterrupted Independent Reading.  


Guided Practice: Today, I would be conferencing with students right at their comfy spots and asking them to share Onomatopoeia examples from the book they are reading. This is also when I could pull students for assessments, one-on-one reading, strategy groups, or guided reading groups. Because this portion of Reader’s Workshop is meant to be flexible and student based, it is not beneficial to plan too far ahead of time. Instead, you should gauge which students may need extra support through the mini-lesson, prior assessments, reading levels, overall ability and need for scaffolding. For Onomatopoeia support, I will read with specific students, either with their own books or a teacher selected book, and help them identify examples.


5 minutes

At the end of 40 minutes, I remind students that their job during reading time was to notice Onomatopoeia in their books. I ask them to repeat the term, Onomatopoeia. Then I tell them to meet with their reading partner to share what they found. How many examples did they find? Did they see any parts of their text where Onomatopoeia could be added? After partners have had a chance to share with each other, I ask a few students to share with the class. I then tell the class that we will focus on Onomatopoeia for the rest of the week. Reader’s Workshop has come to an end so students put their browsing boxes away and make sure the library is neat and organized.