Over the past month, my first graders have been exploring, learning, using, and finding new and interesting vocabulary words. While vocabulary instruction and practice is a skill I am consistently teaching and integrating into our learning on a day-to-day basis, I like to spend some time each year making it the sole focus of our mini lessons. And, like any reading strategy and skill that I teach, I want my lessons to be engaging and memorable for my kids.
Years from now, your students will not remember the worksheet you did with them. They will remember the experiences you gave them. So, when it came to teaching synonyms to my little firsties, I broke out the good ol’ Synonym Cinnamon Rolls lesson this week. This is not my idea, a new idea, or even a research-based idea. This is simply novelty at its finest…and guess what? It works! It’s an experience my kiddos always remember and have fun with! This year, I even added legit chef hats to “set the stage!” (I’ve linked the hats I purchased at the bottom of this post.)
So, let’s take a walk through this SWEET lesson! 🙂
We started with a whole class anchor chart. I used the word cards from the
You can click on the link above to head to her store. The freebie is designed to be used as a matching game or adorable literacy center. Instead, I chose eight of the cards and used them as starting points for a class discussion about words that had the same meanings. After I taped up each card, students had time to talk and come up with words that meant the same as the posted word. The discussions they had with one another was another mini-lesson in and of itself. Often, a child would blurt out a word that had nothing to do with the synonym. I would hear the other students explaining how and why that word didn’t “fit.” It was amazing to listen to how respectful my students were during these discussions. I heard phrases such as, “That’s a great word, ____!” or “Good one! Raise your hand for that one!” and “Good try! That word means _________ though.”
Then, it was time to put our synonym learning to practice and “bake” our synonym rolls! I printed off these simple and effective cinnamon roll templates from the Cinnamon Roll Outline Freebie by Room 125. <– Click the link to download the template for your class.
Students chose a word from the anchor chart OR any other “regular” word that they wanted to. I gave each child a square of foil and after they wrote 2-3 synonyms on the cinnamon roll, they glued it to the foil with a glue stick. Finally, I showed the students how to fold the edges of their foil up so that it looked like their Synonym Roll was “baking” on a cookie sheet! So cute, right?!
These cute little Synonym Roll baking sheets make an adorable bulletin board display!
Of course, this lesson would not be nearly as exciting or complete without getting to the part where we got to EAT cinnamon rolls! The night before, I popped three tubes of Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls into my oven, iced them, and stuck them in my cupcake carrier to bring to school. (I also might have eaten one…or two.)
Yum! Synonym Success!
If you’re wondering where I purchased the chef hats, you can find them at my affiliate link below. I really liked this brand because it was easy for the kids to write their names on their hats before we “fluffed” them up to put on their heads. Each student wrote their “Chef Name” on the band of the hat. They LOVED it and they looked SO cute!
Hairy, Scary, Ordinary is a follow-up book we used for this lesson. I love this book because of the rhyming rhythm and the multitude of new words it shares with students. Many of the words are not ones my students have heard before, so it lends itself to more great vocabulary discussions!
I can see this lesson being adapted and used in many different grade levels. 🙂 If you’re not allowed to use food in your classroom, the chef hats and the Synonym Roll “craftivity” makes an adorable lesson in and of itself!