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 3. Understand, acquire, and use new vocabulary

Objective c. Use resources to confirm definitions and gather further information about words


The teacher should select a word that is being overused by students and declare that word "outlawed" during class. Next, students should use a print or on-line resource to determine synonyms and antonyms for the outlawed word. Given all the new words, small groups of students should arrange these words in a gradient from strongest to weakest and then groups should compare and justify their gradients. Finally, students should create a class dictionary where they can replace the outlawed word in writing and speech. This activity can be completed multiple times to expand the class dictionary.


The teacher should create a list of unfamiliar but useful words. Next, the class should be divided into small groups of no more than three students. Each group will be given a word from the list and instructed to research its meaning and origin through an online source. Once students have gathered information on their word, they should create a plan to teach the word to the remainder of the class. The plan should be innovative and technology driven. It might be a movie, a power point, etc…. The teacher should approve each group's plan, and each group should prepare their presentation to deliver to the class.


Before this activity, the teacher should prepare a series of challenging antonym pairs like inferior/superior, vast/modest, domineering/submissive, or accurate/mistaken. Enough pairs should be created so that each student in the class can receive one word. To that end, a single word should be written on a single card, and a single card should be given to each student. Next, students should learn their word's multiple meanings, antonyms, and pronunciation through a print or online source. Once students know their words, direct them to find their word's antonym partner in the class. Then the pairs of students should share/teach their word pairs to the remainder of the class. A running list of these antonym pairs can be displayed for the class.