‘Homonym!’ – LSRW Activities

Background

The cards I created for these activities are inspired by a TV game show called Homonym! featured on 30 Rock in which a contestant must define the homonym of a word spoken by the host (played by Steve Higgins).

The activities featured below won’t be as unfair as that!

But first, let’s get the pedantry out of the way:

The strictest definition of a ‘homonym’ would tell you that a homonym is a group of words which have the same spelling (homograph) and the same pronunciation (homophone) but with different meanings.

However, in the more ‘looser’ sense ‘homonym’ is defined as having the same spelling or pronunciation but with different meanings.

So, strictly speaking, the 400 words on cards I have at the end of this post are homophones. But, in light of the aforementioned inspiration, I chose to keep the titles on the cards as ‘Homonym!’. (Plus, ‘homonym’ is a lovely word to say.)

 

 

Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing Activities

This is by no means an exhaustive list; these are written specifically with the ‘Homonym!’ cards in mind and can easily be adapted to suit using any bank of words.

 

Collaborative Writing

Students compose a piece of text (story, scene, dialogue between two characters, film script, etc.) in groups and present it to the class.

  • The class is divided into groups. Each member of the group is assigned a role for the activity. Each group is given a random selection of the cards. Each of these words are to be used in their text.
  • Teacher assigns roles to the members of each group. Depending on the size of your group, roles may include:

Facilitator (ensures group understands the task; ensures participation from everyone in the group, and a consensus on ideas and what is being written; keeps track of what words have left to be mentioned in their text)

Prioritiser (keeps the group aware of time constraints; ensures the group stays on task and isn’t caught-up on particular points)

Scribe (writes what the group agrees to say; acts as the primary ‘devil’s advocate’ who is to constructively argue details of the written piece)

Spokesperson/Reporter (answers questions from teacher checking on the group’s progress and conveys response from teacher to the rest of the group; introduces what the group wrote; reads out the finished piece; answers questions from the class and teacher after presenting the piece)

In addition to their specified roles, everyone in the group should contribute ideas.

  • Teacher provides each group with a short list of what they can choose to write (with an opening line for each item on the list). From the list, the group decides on which one they will create.

The list is to act as a prompt. Some groups may wish to select something not on the list.

  • Teacher monitors the groups’ progress. After a few minutes, teacher asks for a spoken progress report from the Spokesperson/Reporter of one group. Teacher then asks for a report from the next group.
  • Once each group has finished writing the piece, they must work together to write a very brief introduction.
  • Each group’s Spokesperson then presents their written piece and answer questions from the class.

Depending on the text, students may wish to act out their piece or voice different characters.

If students chose an entry on the list which involves comedy, the cards students were given can inspire them:

“I saw the prints today and -” / “Prince?! What prince?”

“Oh, give me patience.” / “Doctor, they’re in the waiting room.”

 

Homonym!

For this, students need to be familiar with their homonyms/homophones!

  • Teacher is the ‘host’, students are the ‘contestants’.
  • Teacher selects a card at random and speaks the word on the card.
  • Students note as many homonyms/homophones that they can think of (e.g. way/weigh; rain/reign/rein), and then put them in a single sentence exactly as they are (e.g. “The heirs had airs.” / “As an idol, he was idle.”).

Students should be aware that the word endings should stay the same in their sentence.

  • Teacher selects another card and students repeat their task.

Alternatively, students can be asked to try and write a story, sentence by sentence.

  • Teacher then selects two words.
  • Students list the possible homonyms/homophones for each word and write two sentences incorporating each variation.
  • Once the teacher has finished calling out the words, students swap what they have wrote.
  • Students get one point for each homonym/homophone and two points for each correct usage of the words in their sentences.

A sample table for students’ sentences and points can be found below under ‘Cards’.

 

Improvisation

Version 1

Similar to the story chain, this focuses on oral skills.

Students are in pairs and must improvise a conversation between two characters.

  • Students are given a random selection of cards and are asked to go in pairs for the timed activity.

Teacher may ask students to show or hide the words on the cards from each other. Choosing to show the cards can act as an aid; they will try and steer the conversation so certain words are used. Choosing to not show the words on the cards can make it a bit more challenging and perhaps create a  more ‘natural’ conversation.

  • Each pair is assigned a scenario (e.g. “Two friends trapped in an elevator.” / “Hiring a private detective.” / “A weird job interview.” / “Leonardo da Vinci painting the woman of The Mona Lisa.”).

While the teacher is doing this, students should be familiarising themselves with their cards and deciding who will speak first. Regardless of whether they show their cards to each other or not, they have to follow their scenario!

  • Teacher starts the timer and students begin their conversation. Once a student says a word on their card, they can put it down.
  • Once the time is up, students should have used all of the words they have.

Version 2

This time, each pair is asked to improvise the conversation while the rest of the class observes and notes any homophones.

  • Students are asked to go in pairs. Each pair is given a selection of cards.
  • Teacher selects a pair and quietly tells them their scenario, how much time they have, and who speaks first.
  • While these two students act out the scene, the other pairs who are observing must guess the scenario they were given and note any words they identified as homophones.
  • Once the time is up, the pair should have used all the words they were given.
  • Teacher asks the observing pairs what they thought the scenario was.
  • The students who improvised then reveal the words on their cards and the scenario they were given.

This can also be done in small groups of 3-4 students.

 

Story Chain

This is an example of a ‘story chain’.

Focusing on receptive (listening) and expressive (speaking) skills, the aim is to orally create a structured and coherent short story. (See Short Story Tips.)

Displaying a collage of images for all students to see can act as an effective visual prompt for ideas. Alternatively, students could be asked to create a story from the images (with this, the students create the theme instead of the teacher).

In this activity, students create the setting, plot, characters, dialogue, and so on.

  • Each student selects a card at random. Teacher sets a theme for the story (e.g. a murder mystery).
  • The first student forms a sentence with the word on their card.

Teacher takes the card and student selects another card at random.

  • The next student adds their own sentence which includes the word on their card.

Teacher again replaces the card.

  • This continues until the class agrees that the story has reached a natural conclusion.

Alternatively, the teacher can stop the story at an interesting moment and ask students to write their own ending.

An optional addition to this is to ask students to repeat the sentence last spoken before sharing their sentence with the class.

 

 

Cards (PDF)

In selecting the homonyms/homophones, I eliminated those which that are primarily dependent on dialect.

See the captions below each image for details of the PDF.

Alphabetical Random

Homonym---Alphabetical8-1

50 pages (8 cards/words per sheet)

Homonym---Random8-1

50 pages (8 cards/words per sheet)

Blank Score Sheet

Homonym---Blank8

1 page (8 blank cards)

Homonym---Score-Sheet

Sample table for sentences and points

 

 

Online Cards

The cards will appear in a random order in the slideshow below. Press the pause button to stop the auto-play and use the arrows to navigate between cards.

Useful alternative to printing out the cards, especially if students have their own devices. For instance, if playing the ‘Homonym!’ game outlined above the students can use the slideshow to get their words, and they can type their entries in a spreadsheet/table/etc.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Note: JavaScript required to view slideshow.

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Posted on 10/04/2014, in Junior Cert, Leaving Cert, Teachers and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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