School Improvement in Maryland

Using the State Curriculum: Reading/ELA, Grade 3

Reading/ELA | Informational | Literary | Writing | Language | Listening | Speaking

Lesson Seeds: The lesson seeds are ideas for the indicator/objective that can be used to build a lesson. Lesson seeds are not meant to be all-inclusive, nor are they substitutes for instruction.

Standard 1.0 General Reading Processes

Topic D. Vocabulary

Indicator 2. Develop a conceptual understanding of new words

Objective b. Identify and explain word relationships to determine the meanings of words


In preparation for this activity, the teacher should create pairs of corresponding words. For example, a pair of words that shows general to specific might be man and farmer. Or a pair of words that addresses increasing intensity might be generous and philanthropic. The teacher should write one of these words on an index card. To begin the activity the teacher should randomly distribute the cards so that each student has a single card with a single word written on it. Then the teacher should instruct students to move about the room to find his/her corresponding word. Once all students have formed their pairs, they should share their pairs with the class and explain the relationship between the word pair. If the word pair is incorrect, the teacher should withdraw the words and set them aside until through sharing, the correct pair is found.


This activity is a continuation of a lesson seed for the previous objective. Now that all words have been added to the global topics lists, the teacher should focus students on certain sets of pairs of words within a single topic. For example, under the topic Friendship there might appear the words companions, comrades, supporters, etc…The teacher should initiate a discussion about the relationship among those words. For example, what is the difference between a companion and a supporter? Do all three words legitimately belong under the heading of friendship? Which of the three words best encompasses the meaning of friendship? This type of discussion will cause students to look at the connections between and among words and point out to them the importance of word choice in literary and informational texts.


Before beginning this activity, the teacher should select a single deeper study word for the week and then identify 4-5 related words. Each of these words should be written on an index card. Then multiple sets of these word cards should be created so that if the teacher divides the class into six groups of five students each, there should be six sets of words cards so that each student in the group will have a single word card. Once students are placed in groups and word cards have been distributed, students should review the set of words and then decide upon an organizing continuum that they are able to explain. Each group should display their continuum to the rest of the class and explain why the words are in that order.