Distinguish shades of meaning among verbs

Distinguish shades of meaning among verbs

I can figure out the differences in meaning among closely related verbs.

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Distinguish shades of meaning among verbs

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In this lesson, students will refresh their understanding of verbs and strengthen their understanding of word intensity and word expression, expanding their vocabulary. With this skill, they can express that they are not simply “eating,” but “devouring” their food! They will be able to evaluate the strength of words through various interactive activities involving coming up to the board to drag items.

Common core standards

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

Learning Objective

Students will be able to define words by category and distinguish between shades of meaning and levels of intensity in verbs.


Students begin the lesson by reviewing verbs and what they do. Next, students will learn about shades of meaning and be shown examples of increasing levels of intensity like “run,” “jog,” “sprint,” and “bolt.” Then, students categorize words into “plain” and “fancy” words.


Students drag to reorder words from weakest to strongest. Examples of words include, “cry,” “weep,” and “sob.” They will also drag words into different colored boxes ranging from light to dark to illustrate the growing levels of intensity of each word.


Students will answer true/false and multiple-choice questions to check for understanding. They will have to choose which word has the strongest or weakest shade of meaning. They will also decide which two words have an equal level of intensity like “cut” and “trim.”


Students will end the lesson by breaking down the word, “walk.” 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

Placing words into varying shades of a color can help students visualize this concept and list words in the correct order of intensity.

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