Distinguish shades of meaning among adjectives

Distinguish shades of meaning among adjectives

I can tell how words are similar but can have slightly different meanings.

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Distinguish shades of meaning among adjectives

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In this lesson, students will refresh their understanding of adjectives and strengthen their understanding of word intensity and word expression, expanding their vocabulary. With this skill, they can express that something is “delicious” ⏤ not just “good”! They will be able to evaluate the strength of words through various interactive activities.

Common core standards

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.1.5b; L.2.5.b

Learning Objective

Students will be able to define words and adjectives by category and distinguish between shades of meaning.


Students begin the lesson by reviewing adjectives and what they do. Then students will learn about shades of meaning and be given an example of the words “stare” and “glance.” Learning about different shades of meaning can help students better communicate their thoughts and feelings.


Students will think about shades of adjectives like the temperature of words. The hotter it gets, the more intense the word is. Students will practice this skill by looking at a list of words and circling the strongest and most intense word from the list. They will also read a word and then drag similar words of different strengths into the appropriate areas from weakest to strongest.


Students will answer true/false and multiple-choice questions to check for understanding.


Students will end the lesson by breaking down the word, “happy.” With their classmates, they will have 3 minutes to think of as many similar-meaning words of varying shades as they can. Then they will compare what they came up with and sort the words from weakest to strongest.

Teaching tips

Images like thermometers and varying shades of a color can help students visualize this concept and list words in the correct order.

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