How to Teach Synonyms & Antonyms for the First Grade

Written by jackie castle
  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Share
  • Pin
  • Email
How to Teach Synonyms & Antonyms for the First Grade
Engaging in hands-on activities helps students learn synonyms and antonyms. (Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Teaching first graders about synonyms and antonyms is important in preparing them for second grade. It also boosts vocabulary usage and understanding. Synonyms are sets of words that have similar meanings. Antonyms are sets of words with opposite meanings. First graders love hands-on and kinesthetic activities, and there are many which promote learning.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Sticky notes
  • Index card
  • White board markers
  • Magnetic strips

Show MoreHide


  1. 1

    Tell students that they will be learning about synonyms and antonyms. Discuss what each word means and give several examples. Write the examples on the board. Invite volunteers to add their own examples to the list on the board.

  2. 2

    Create a list of vocabulary words that students have learnt throughout the year. Write each word on a sticky note. Make a worksheet containing a synonym and antonym for each word. Form a circle with students. Give each student a copy of the synonym-antonym worksheet. Next, pass out the labelled sticky notes and have students stick it to their shirt. Pick one vocabulary word. The student who has that sticky note steps into the middle of the circle. The other students must find the synonym on the list. The student who thinks she has the right word steps into the middle. If she is wrong, she must return to the circle. When a match is found, write the word combination on the board. Then repeat for the antonym. Continue playing using the other vocabulary words.

  3. 3

    Create an interactive word wall. Write several base words on index cards, such as hot, run and kind. Then write the antonym and synonym for each word on separate cards. Attach magnet strips to the back of the cards, so they can be hung on a white board. Divide the white board into three columns using a marker. Place the base words in the first column. Label the remaining columns "synonym" and "antonym." During centre time, have small groups of students work together to find the synonym and antonym for each word and hang it on the board in the appropriate column. Check their work.

  4. 4

    Draw a large tic-tac-toe grid on the board . Assign partners and have them draw a grid on a piece of paper. Write a word on the board that has many different shades of meanings, such as happy, good, bad or cold. Explain that the student who is "X" is the synonym maker. He picks a square on the grid and writes a synonym for the prompt word. The other student, or "O" player, is the antonym maker. He then picks a square and writes an antonym for the word. Have students continue to play until one player gets three in a row. Have partners switch roles, write a new word on the board, and have them play again.

Don't Miss

  • All types
  • Articles
  • Slideshows
  • Videos
  • Most relevant
  • Most popular
  • Most recent

No articles available

No slideshows available

No videos available

By using the site, you consent to the use of cookies. For more information, please see our Cookie policy.