A Bad Case of Stripes - Vocabulary - Synonyms

Contributor: Victoria Surface. Lesson ID: 10388

Are you ready, prepared and equipped to learn about synonyms? Using an online thesaurus, a big die, and your special unique brain, learn about words that mean the same thing and spice up your writing!



English / Language Arts
learning style
personality style
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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Is this guy fretting, worried, bothered, or discontent?

Good writing makes good reading.

There are many ways to improve your writing. Some ways to develop writing include the following:  

  • Read every day.
  • Use a thesaurus.
  • Learn new words each day.
  • Keep a journal.
  • Use synonyms.

In this lesson, you will use these methods to learn how to improve your writing. 

Vocabulary can make your writing more effective and powerful. How can you use vocabulary to make your writing more impressive? One way is to use synonyms. Synonyms are words that have the same or nearly the same meaning. One tool for finding synonyms for a vocabulary word is a Thesaurus (thesaurus.com).

1. Start a vocabulary journalThe vocabulary journal is another tool that can also be used for other subjects and lessons. Check out these Ideas for Vocabulary Journals (on Pinterest). You can also use the Graphic Organizer – Vocabulary Word Map in the Downloadable Resources in the right-hand sidebar. You can use the word map to help you understand any vocabulary word. Below is an example from the book you will read in this lesson. This lesson will focus on synonyms and using them in your writing, but the Graphic Organizer – Vocabulary Word Map is a great tool and strategy to use anytime. 

2. Watch and listen to A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon (below). Pause the video as you come across each of the vocabulary words below and write them in your journal. You do not need to complete a Graphic Organizer – Vocabulary Word Map for each of the words at this point. Just write them down.

  • Vocabulary Words – fretting, impress, instant, extraordinary, uncontrollable, ointment, contagious, specialists, experts, virus, bacteria, cure

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3. You have already seen an example of the vocabulary word "fretting," but take a look at the synonyms for fret on thesaurus.com. Notice that when you put in the whole word, the thesaurus will usually give synonyms for the root word. For example, "fretting" becomes "fret." Also notice that there are many more synonyms than the ones chosen for the vocabulary word map. 

4. Look at how the word is used in a meaningful sentence above. Being able to use the word in a sentence is an important part of writing. 

  • Lisa was fretting about the difficult exam she was about to take.  

How can we use synonyms to express the same or similar meaning in writing? Change the original vocabulary word with a synonym or two. Look at the examples below. Notice how you can also change words around in a sentence. 

  • Lisa was worrying, or agonizing about the difficult exam she was about to take.  
  • As she was about to take the difficult exam, a look of anguish struck Lisa’s face.  

You now have four new words to add to your reading and writing toolbox that all have similar meanings. The next time you come across any one of those words in your reading, you will know what it means. Notice how the root word, "anguish," was used in the sentence instead of "anguishing." You could also say,

  • A look of fret struck Lisa, as she was about to take the difficult exam. 

5In the next section (Got It?you will practice finding synonyms for another vocabulary word from A Bad Case of Stripes. You will cut out the Cube Template from Downloadable Resources and make a 3D cube. Look at the template example below for the word fretting. Notice the six items on the cube: vocabulary word, picture, and four synonyms. You will roll the cube like a die and practice writing a sentence using each word it lands on. If it lands on the picture, you can pick the word you want to use:

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