Writing: Word Choice
Synonym Bingo -- SYNGO
Today's Snack: What's a better snack for a bingo game than a
Checkerboard Sandwich? Take one slice of whole wheat or pumpernickel bread. Spread
softened and stirred Philadelphia cream cheese spread on it. Piles a few slices
of fresh shaved turkey on top, with some thin slices of tomato and a leaf of
lettuce if you wish. Put the white piece of bread on top. Cut this sandwich
into nine squares -- cut three slices, and then cut each slice in thirds.
Arrange these nine mini-squares on a plate in an alternating pattern, like a
checkboard. Enjoy with chocolate milk - so tasty, it'll make you say, "Bingo!"
Print out a gamecard
on a piece of plain
white cardstock for each student;
see instructions for
preparing gamecards, below
NOTE: an adult or
designated student should
make the "gamecards"
This game is best with
at least 4 players,
so make at least 4
or one for each player
with a few extra
Thick and thin colored
M&Ms for use as "gamepieces"
give each student one
for the game, and a
second one to eat during the game!
It's a good idea to
have several prizes on hand for
the winner of each
round - maybe a slightly larger M&M sack?
One person designated
as the "SYNGO" caller
Print out this Treat,
cut the synonym groups apart, mix them up,
and then pull them out
at random and call the synonyms, below
A "synonym" (pronounced SIN oh nim) is a word that means
the same as, or nearly the same as, another word. Most words in English have at
least one synonym. For example:
trot, dash, race, sprint
right, precise, true, exact
chuckle, snicker, roar, guffaw
Synonyms are so close in meaning to each other that you
can probably use them in place of each other. But the fun part is in making
excellent word choices that precisely and accurately communicate the meaning,
tone and feeling of the sentence.
with bigger vocabularies tend to be better communicators and better writers.
They know more synonyms, so they have more options - more tools in the writing
is a good writing skill to be able to choose among many equally-acceptable
synonyms and select the very best one - the one that comes the closest to
conveying your exact meaning.
For example, everybody pictures what it means to "giggle"
at a joke in a movie, but if you wrote that the audience "roared," that's a
completely different feeling and environment.
"giggle" is quiet; to "roar" with laughter is loud.
person might "snicker" at himself - half-laugh, usually behind your hand to
hide that you're quietly laughing -- if he clumsily trips on a sidewalk without
falling down. But he might "guffaw" - laugh boisterously and unrestrained, the
kind when tears run down your face - if he tripped, fell face first into a mud
puddle, and came up with a thick layer of mud on his eyeglasses!
how much meaning you can get across by choosing just one word over another?
like a game. So, to build your synonym power, let's play everybody's favorite
game - BINGO! Only instead of numbers, we're going to call out synonyms. So
let's call our game "SYNGO"!!!!
has made your SYNGO cards in advance. You should see five columns across,
marked S - Y - N - G - O across the top. Then you should see five rows of five
words each. There should be a different word in each box. The center square
should be marked "FREE."
Note to the Adult or Student Designated
To Make the Gamecards
make the gamecards, print out the grid at the bottom of this Treat on plain
white cardstock. Write the word FREE in the middle square of the five rows of
look at the 25 synonym groupings, below.
in the upper left-hand corner. Don't write the main synonym, in bold. That's the word that you
are going to call out. Instead, start with the first synonym on the list, and
write that in the upper left-hand corner box. So, for the first grouping, words
that are synonyms with Alert,
you would write Attentive in the box on the first gamecard.
you move on to the next box and the next grouping. For the next box, write the
first synonym in the list for the second synonym grouping. The main synonyn,
that you will call out, is the word Angry,
and the first synonym, that you will write on the gamecard, is Mad.
move on until your first card is filled. Start on the second card. Be careful
not to duplicate any two cards. Once you have finished one card, make sure that
you don't have the same two words in the same boxes on any two gamecards. This
shouldn't be a problem, since you have 25 synonym groupings, and only 24 boxes
to fill, with the "FREE" space in the middle.
groupings should make enough gamecards for up to 100 students without
duplicating a card.
Now Let's Play!
with regular BINGO, everybody can put an M&M on the "FREE" space. After
that, you have to listen to the SYNGO caller call out the synonyms, one at a
time, and look at your gameboard and decide if you have a synonym for that
you see a word that is a synonym to the one that is called out, put an M&M
When you get five across, five up and down,
or five diagonally, you have a SYNGO. Call out "SYNGO!" and check your selections
with the caller. At the end of the game, as a group, you can go over all of the
synonyms for each word, either by writing them on a chalkboard, or projecting
this list up on a big screen with a laptop.
fun, and if you like this game, you can make more lists of synonyms, new
gamecards, and play some more rounds!
S Y N G O