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Treasure House Pictures

Learn the story about Peter Roget, the creator of the thesaurus. Then paint an illustration of a word with all its synonyms.

  • Grade 3
    Grade 4
    Grade 5
  • 30 to 60 minutes
  • Directions

    1. The story of Peter Mark Roget and how he created the thesaurus is told in the wonderful book, The Right Word: Roget and his Thesaurus, by Jen Bryant. The book tells the true story of Roget's life and his love of words and lists. The illustrations are visually intriguing and serve as a platform for students to create artwork illustrating a word along with all it's synonyms.
    2. Review how a thesaurus is used and the information students can find in a thesaurus, like a definition, synonyms and antonyms. Discuss the meaning of each term.
    3. Have students practice using a thesaurus in book form or online. They can look up words from their current spelling words or a vocabulary word list from a current reading book.
    4. Students write a list of synonyms for a vocabulary word they select to illustrate. Give students time to plan out their illustration. They will be creating a colorful background with Crayola Washable Watercolors and then adding words with Washable fine-line markers.
    5. Students can write words in different styles. They can add drawings to go along with the words if they choose. Encourage students to be creative.
    6. Students cover their work area with recycled newspaper. Using Crayola Washable Watercolors and a brush, students paint a background scene on a piece of heavy paper or Crayola® Marker and Watercolor Paper. Set aside to dry or allow to dry overnight.
    7. The word chosen by the student should be featured larger than it's synonyms.
    8. Encourage students to use synonyms in their writing and to make good use of a thesaurus.
  • Standards

    LA: Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

    LA: Spell grade-appropriate words correctly, consulting references as needed.

    LA: Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening.

    LA: Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 4 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.

    LA: Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.

    SS: Explore factors that contribute to one's personal identity such as interests, capabilities, and perceptions.

    SS: Demonstrate an ability to use correctly vocabulary associated with time such as past, present, future, and long ago; read and construct simple timelines; identify examples of change; and recognize examples of cause and effect relationships.

    SS: Identify and use various sources for reconstructing the past, such as documents, letters, diaries, maps, textbooks, photos, and others.

    VA: Select media, techniques, an processes; analyze what makes them effective or not effective in communicating ideas; and reflect upon the effectiveness of choices.

    VA: Describe ways in which the principles and subject matter of other disciplines taught in the school are interrelated with the visual arts.

    VA: Students will investigate, plan and work through materials and ideas to make works of art and design.

  • Adaptations

    Word illustrations can be made with synonyms and antonyms.

    During the next writing assignment, challenge students to replace 5 words with synonyms.

    Students learn one synonyms for each of their current spelling words. Beginning on a Monday ask for one synonym for each word, then add one every day ending on Friday with five synonyms. Have a class contest to keep track of their achievements.

    Have students explore different writing fonts. Have students identify different lettering styles found in classroom books, magazines or the library.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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