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Mixed-Up Meanings--A Homophones Matching Game

Turn a grammatical challenge into an amusing word game with inspiration from Crayola® Twistables™ Colored Pencils and Maya Angelou’s book Angelina of Italy.

  • Grade 1
    Grade 2
    Grade 3
  • 60 to 90 Minutes
  • Directions

    1. When you first hear one, you probably think it’s a mistake. "Don’t they know that those words sound the same? But their meanings or spellings are different!" These words are called homophones (or homonyms) and they come in sets of two or more. Sometimes homophones are spelled differently (a pair of shoes and a juicy pear to eat). Sometimes they are spelled the same but have different meanings (a bride’s train and a choo-choo).
    2. Ask students if they know any homophone pairs. Have them write their examples on a white board using Crayola Dry-Erase Markers, with one word in each of two columns drawn on the board. Check spelling. Ask two classmates to come to the board and use Crayola Dry-Erase Crayons to illustrate each of the words. Have peers determine if their illustrations are correct. Repeat this several times and allow students to discuss these unusual words.
    3. Find more homophones. With classmates, students read books that play with words, such as Angelina of Italy. What’s the homophone? Write a list of homophones with Crayola Twistables Colored Pencils. Using Crayola Scissors, students cut white paper into enough rectangles for each word. On each rectangle, draw a representation of each homophone. For Angelina, as an example, draw a pizza on one card and the leaning tower of Pisa on another.
    4. Create the cards. Children decorate one side of a file folder with a colorful pattern. Using a Crayola Glue Stick, attach drawings to the plain side of the decorated file folder. Cut the cards apart.
    5. Concentrate! To play the game, turn all the cards over so that no words are visible. The first player turns over two cards. If the cards are homophones, the player keeps them and goes again. If not, turn the cards back over in their original spot and the next player takes a turn. Continue until all card pairs have been matched!
  • Standards

    LA: Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.

    LA: Use information gained from the illustrations and words in a print or digital text to demonstrate understanding of its characters, setting or plot.

    LA: Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words.

    LA: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

    LA: Participate in shared research and writing projects.

    LA: Tell a story or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking audibly in coherent sentences.

    VA: Use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories.

    VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: Dear Deer: A Book of Homophones by Gene Barretta; Eight Ate: A Feast of Homonym Riddles by Marvin Terbin; How Much Can a Bare Bear ?: What Are Homonyms and Homophones? by Brian P. Cleary

    Encourage students to create a matching game using words instead of illustrations.

    Working in small groups, students make a list of homophones that they are familiar with. As students engage with more literature, have them add to the existing list. Discuss new additions. If possible, keep the student list posted in the classroom.

    Invite people who speak various languages, other than English, to visit with the class. Discuss any homophones in the foreign languages.


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