Though the words “language arts” often call to mind thoughts of sentence diagramming and spell checking, the subject actually has a great deal more to offer. Helping students see the true benefit in language arts—benefits that extend beyond understanding subject/verb agreement—will also help them realize that language can be interesting and even exciting! Below is an activity that will help your students step beyond the ordinary in language arts and into a world of discovery and enjoyment.
The Adjective Analysis Word Game
Step 1: Tell your students you’re going to play a game. Pick a passage from one of their favorite books, preferably a passage that includes a lot of descriptive terminology, and read it aloud to the class. Then ask them to think about what the passage made them envision and what emotions they felt as they listened. Once the students have had a chance to do this, call on a few and ask them to describe what they pictured and felt.
Step 2: Now ask the class which specific words from the passage helped to build the images they’d seen and emotions they’d experienced. If the section was about a boy exploring a pyramid, have them focus on the words that told them what kind of pyramid it was. This should call their attention to the adjectives in the passage. If the pyramid was described as being “dim and spooky,” ask them how they would have felt if the author had instead used the words “dark and sinister,” “shadowed and eerie,” or “black and menacing.” Though each of these words has a similar meaning, they are also different enough that they bring their own unique slant to the story and will more than likely create rather different images in the minds of the readers.
Step 3: Pointing these differences out creates an opportunity to discuss word selection and the importance of using the best words in each assignment. It will also provide a solid foundation for a lesson on adjectives, creative writing, or synonyms. This is a good time to reinforce the lesson by having the students play the Gynzy Synonyms and Antonyms game on their interactive whiteboards. Follow this activity with a writing prompt where students can put their new-found knowledge, and hopefully their new-found excitement, to the test. If desired, have willing students share their stories with the class.
Implementing a language activity such as the one above will create a sense of excitement and interest in your class as you show them how the subject can become a fun part of their lives.