School Improvement in Maryland

Using the State Curriculum: Reading/ELA, Grade 8

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. Apply and refine a conceptual understanding of new words

Objective a. Classify and categorize increasingly complex words


Prior to the List-Group-Label activity, the teacher should identify a topic, concept, or theme studied by the class. To begin the students should be divided into three to four groups. Within each group students should brainstorm a list of as many words as possible that are related to the identified topic, concept, or theme and record these words on newsprint. Next, the students should group the listed words by determining their commonalities and recording them within groups on a second piece of newsprint. If there are "outlaw" words, they may be recorded in a miscellaneous category. The group session concludes with students creating and recording a label for each of their word groups. Finally, each group of students will share their groupings with the rest of the class. (Teacher Note: This activity may be modified in a variety of ways. Once student lists have been organized and labeled, the teacher may ask probing questions so that students may extend their lists. Student groups can be paired and their lists combined so that modification of original lists and labels is possible. Or the teacher may provide additional words that students will need to incorporate within their existing groups.)


Before beginning this activity with students, the teacher should compile a total list of 20 words where five words each describe 4 different characters from a recently read story, novel, etc… Next, the teacher should place students in groups of four and present them with the list of words and the names of the four selected characters. Through small group discussion, students should confirm the meanings of the words and determine which words describe which character. Once all groups have made their decisions, pair the groups where each group will share its findings with the other group. The teacher should monitor these discussions and assist in settling any disputes about correctness. Once the words have been applied to each character, the combined groups should reorder by character the words from the most positive to least positive descriptors. Any words that are neutral should be placed in the middle of the list. Class discussion should follow that confirms why words are positive, negative, and neutral.


To begin this activity, the teacher should place students in groups of four to five. Next the teacher should assign each group a global and age-appropriate topic such as war, peace, friendship, honor, etc…and provide each group with a piece of newsprint. Students should be instructed to list as many words that can rename or describe the assigned topic. Once students have generated a list of approximately 5-7 words, they should pass the newsprint and topic to another small group. The next group should then add more words to the original list. This process continues until each group has worked with each topic or students exhaust any more word choices. The teacher and students should talk about the words students have provided and remove any incorrect entries. (Teacher Note: The continuation of the activity appears in the next objective.)