Third Grade: In the Thick of a Thesaurus

The Second in the Reference Tool Series

In keeping with the theme of “tools”,  I reviewed or introduced (depending on the individual student’s experience) a new reference tool, a thesaurus.


Used real tools to help the students relate that reference tools also have unique purposes

First, we reviewed the different functions of real tools (like screwdrivers, hammers, etc.) and discussed what would happen if you used the wrong tool for the job.  Frustration or failure!  We made the connection with reference tools, each having a different function or purpose.  We use the word “function” as this an International Baccalaureate key concept and we are an IB Primary Years Programme.  We reviewed the functions of the dictionary, so that later we could compare it once we determined the functions of a thesaurus.

Thesaurus Graphic Organizer

I found this graphic organizer online and adapted it a bit.  I wanted the students to get some practice in using a thesaurus while looking up some interesting words.

Graphic organizer for thesaurus

Graphic organizer students used to practice using the thesaurus.

Online Thesaurus

Our students will be getting Dell Venue tablets soon, so I wanted to make the connection between traditional, print thesaurus and its online cousin.  After we used the printed thesaurus the students moved to computers to use and looked up a word to find its synonyms.  After this activity we compared the form and function of a paper vs an online thesaurus.  Students noticed a difference of form but not function!


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Filed under Information Literacy Instruction, Students using technology

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