Poem to Teach Homographs: Words with Multiple Meanings
written by: Keren Perles•edited by: Donna Cosmato•updated: 10/12/2012
Are your students having problems with learning multiple meaning words (homographs)? If so, trying using this poem to help them grasp how two words can have one meaning.
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Introducing the Poem
Ask students if they feel that they truly understand the meaning of a homograph. If students respond that they are still having trouble with this concept, explain to them that other people have difficulty understanding when to use multiple meaning words as well. Tell students that you are going to read a poem out loud, written by someone who also had a problem understanding how to use multiple meaning words. Read the poem below, and then hand out a written copy for students to follow along as you reread the poem.
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When Words Don’t Fit – A Multiple Meaning Words Poem
I have such a fit
When these words don’t fit!
Like when all through the spring
All the deer jump and spring,
And the lions feel they might
Want to show their strength and might,
When the monkeys swing
From a vine like a swing,
And the roar of the bear
Is too loud for me to bear,
And I can’t try to pet
One, since it’s not a pet!
I’m not trying to be mean,
But what do these words mean?
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Working With the Poem
Have students break into groups and discuss the two meanings of each multiple meaning word used in the poem. Then ask students to add a few additional lines to the poem using other multiple meaning words that they know. You may want to provide them with a list of multiple meaning words for them to choose from. Encourage students to share their poems with the class.
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If students still seem confused about multiple meaning words, you can try to help them work out their confusion for themselves. Give pairs of students a dictionary and let them work on finding out the multiple meanings that each of the words in the poem can have. Then have them choose several words and draw pictures to represent each of the meanings that the word might have. Hang their creations in a prominent place in the room and refer to them, as well as the multiple meaning words poem, as you continue to teach about multiple meaning words.