Fifth grade Language Arts students, working with Lisa Cone, examined the "shades of meaning" of synonyms, or words with nearly the same meanings.
For example, consider at the following sentence: “The towel is ________.” Several words could be placed in the sentence to show how moist the towel is, such as wet, damp, and drenched. Students ordered the words from weakest to strongest in terms of how moist a towel could be. Many sets of synonyms were analyzed, and students discussed the importance of choosing the most precise word to use when speaking and writing. Exercises like this one help students improve their communication skills, and the students enjoy working together!