Homonyms, Homophones, and Homographs

Homonyms, Homophones, and Homographs

Background Information
Many words in English have the sane sound and/or spelling, but different meanings. These are called homonyms. Homonym, from the Greek words homo (same) and onyma (names) means “same name.” Homophones are words that sound the same (therefore may also be considered a homonym), but have different meanings. Homophone, from the Greek words homos (same) and phonos (sound) means “same sound.” Homographs are words that are spelled the same and may or may not sound the same, but have different meanings. Homograph, from the Greek words homos (same) and graphos (writing) means “same writing.”

Examples of Homonyms:
fall – a season (noun), to fall down (verb)
Bread (noun) – bred (verb)

Examples of Homophones:
new (adjective), knew (verb), gnu (noun)
stock (noun), stalk (verb)
air (noun), heir (noun)
stationary (adjective, stationary (verb)

Examples of Homographs:
tear – to pull apart or rip; a salty fluid that comes from the eye
lead – to director go before; a heavy metal sometimes used in pencils

Notes:
All homophones and homographs are homonyms. When introducing both homophone and homographs, be sure to mention homonyms. Both homophones and homographs are subsets of the greater set of homonyms, but many people refer to homophones as homonyms.

Activity 1 Introducing Homophones

Purpose

To understand that there are words that sound the same, but have different meanings in different spellings.

Material
Small container of flour.
Flower.
Some strands of hair tips to a card
Model or a picture of a hare (rabbit)
Pear
Pair of socks
Heading that reads: Homophones
Prepared labels that read: flour, flower, pear, pair, hair, hare
Slips of white paper
Language Arts journals and pencils

Presentation
Most Montessori teachers present this concept in Year 2 or Year 3.
Invite a small group of students together around a mat.
Announce to the students that today they will learn about words that sound the same, but have different meanings and different spellings.
Place the objects in a row at the bottom of the mat.
Place the labels in a column on the right side of the mat.

Part 1: Flower/Flour
Take the flower and place it in the top middle of the mat, saying “flower” as you do so.

Invited Student to select the label for the flower.

Verify that the label is correct, then invite the Student to place it beneath the flower.

If the student chooses the word “flour,” explain that the word does say flour, but it is not the kind of flower on the mat. Encourage the student to choose another label for the flower.

If the label is correct, then invited Student to place it beneath the flower.

Take the container of flour and place it to the right of the flower of the mat, saying “flour” as you do so.

Invite a different student to select the label for the flower and place it beneath the container of flour.

Part 2: Hair/Hare
Place the strands of hair taped to a card under the flower and say “hair” as you place it on the mat.

Invited Student to select the label for hair.

Verify that the label is correct, then invite the Student to place it beneath the hair.

If the student uses the word “hare,” explain that the word does say hare but it is not the kind of hair taped to the card. Encourage the student to choose another label for the hair

Place the model or picture of the hare to the right of the hair, saying “hare” as you do so.

Invite a different student to select the label for “hare.”

Verify that the label is correct, then invited Student to place it beneath the hare.

Part 3: Pear/Pair
Place the strands of pear under the toy hare saying “pear” as you do so.

Invite a student to select the label for the pear.

Verify that the label is correct, then invite the student to place it beneath the pear.

If the student uses the word “pair,” explain that the word does say pair but it is not the kind of pear that is on the mat. Encourage the student to choose another label for the pear

Place the pair of socks to the right of the pear, saying “pair” as you do so.

Invite a different student to select the label for “pair.”

Verify that the label is correct, then invited student to place it beneath the pair of socks

Part 4: Introducing the Word Homophone.
Announce to the students that some words sound the same but have different meanings and spellings. These words are called homophones.

Place the heading, homophones, at the top of the mat.

Part 5: practicing homophones
Encourage the students to think of other homophone pairs, and invite them to print the words on the blank slips of paper.

Ask the students to write in their journals a sentence for at least three pairs of Amazons. For an extra challenge, invite them to use both words of a pair in the same sentence. Example: I knew I saw a gnu!

Activity 2: Identifying and Using Homophones

Purpose
To be able to recognize and use homophones

Material
Pairs or groups of cards with homophones written on them (one word per card).
Language Arts journals

Presentation
Most Montessori teachers present this concept in Year 2 or Year 3.

Invite a small group of students to gather together around a mat.

Announce tp the students that day they will work further with homophones.

Review and discuss homophones.

Display the cards randomly on he mat, printed side up.

Invite a student to find a pair or group of homophones.

Encourage the students to use each of the homophones.

Ask a different student to find another pair or group go homophones and use each word in a sentence.

Once students are comfortable with the concept of homophones, explain the word game called “Coffeepot,” in which one player makes a sentence that contains homophones that are on the mat. Instead of staying the homophones, however, the player substitutes the word coffeepot.

Example: Coffeepot favorite radio program, the news, occurs at the top of every coffeepot.

(The missing homophone is our/hour. The sentence is really saying, “Our favorite radio program, the news, occurs at the tp of every hour.”)

The student who guesses correctly can then make their own sentence using the word coffeepot, and he others can guess what homophone coffeepot stands for.

Ask students to write in their journals five sentences using homophone pairs or groups.

Extensions
Match homophones to the definitions. Have individual homophones written on cards and their corresponding definitions written on other cards. Take turns matching the homophones to their definitions. Examples: pair (two of something), pare (to remove the skin), pear (a type of fruit).

Play charades, a word-guessing game in which players take turns acting out words and phrases for others to guess.

A pun is a play on words. Try making up some puns to share with your teachers and friends. Here are two examples:

The contest for most skilled logger ended in a split decision.

They thought it was a real horse, but it was a phony.

Activity 3: Introducing Homographs

Purpose
To be able to recognize and understand homographs

Material
Six labels with homographs written on them. Examples: tear (noun), tear (verb), sow (noun), sow (verb), lead (noun), lead (verb).

Heading that reads: Homographs

Additional mat

Language Arts journals and pencils

Presentation
Most Montessori teachers present this concept in Year 3.

Invite a small group of students to gather together around a mat.

Announce that today the students will learn about words that are spelled the same, but are pronounced differently and mean different things.

PART !: MATCHING WORDS AND DEFINITIONS
Distribute the definition labels among the students.

Invite a student to read aloud a definition and place the label on the mat.

Invite the other students to take turns reading aloud a definition and placing it below the previous definition.

Continue until all the definition labels are in a neat column on the mat.

On another mat, randomly place the homophone labels.

Invite a student take one of the words and then find ts definition label on the other mat. When the student has finished, invite him/her to place he matching word and definition side by side, forming a second column.

Invite the student to read aloud both the word and its definition. (The teacher may need to assist in the pronunciation.).    

Repeat the above two steps with the other students until all homograph pairs have been matched.

When this is complete, point out to the students that in one case the word is a noun, but in the other it is a verb.

PART 2: INTRODUCING HOMOGRAPHS
Define and discus the glossary term homograph.

Invite a student to rearrange the words and definitions on the mat so that the homographs are placed near each other.

Place the heading, homographs, at the top of the mat.

As a group, read aloud the words. After each word is read, the teacher should then read aloud its definition.

Encourage the students to brainstorm other homographs.

Ask the students to record in their journals at least there homograph pairs and write a sentence for each word.

Extensions
In pairs, practice making sentences using common homographs. Have several homograph words written on labels, placed in a container. Examples: sewer, lead, desert. One student draws a label from the container and creates a sentence with the word. Example: “my family travel to the hot, dry desert last year.” The other student then creates a new sentence is in the homograph of the first word. Example: “if you desert me, I’ll be lost.”

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