Is That What You Meant to Promise?

Is That What You Meant to Promise? – Teach One Reach OneScripture: Genesis 15-17

Learning Objectives:

  • Students will review the story of Abraham, God’s Promises and Ishmael.
  • Students will learn God kept His promises to Abraham.
  • Students will learn God makes promises to us and He will keep those promises, also.
  • Students will learn people unlike God, sometimes lie or use tricks so they do not have to keep their promises.
  • Students will learn about homonyms.
  • Students will participate in an activity using homonyms to develop an understanding of how two words that sound alike can mean two very different things .

Guiding Question: How can two words be spelled differently and mean two very different things, but sound alike when spoken?

Materials: index cards with homonym pairs written on them, dictionaries

Procedure: Review the story of Abraham, God’s promises to him and Hagar and Ishmael. Explain to students God made several promises to Abraham and kept all of His promises. Ask students what promises they can think of that God makes to us today. Have them list as many as they can. Which of these promises will definitely be kept in their lifetime and which ones do we not know exactly when they will be fulfilled? Assure students that even though they may not see them be totally fulfilled, just like He did with Abraham, God will keep His promises to us. Ask students if people always keep their promises. Have students share why they think people do not always keep their promises. Explain that most people want to keep their promises, but then don’t for one reason or another. Some people however, are tricky and never mean to keep their promises. Give examples of campaign promises, ads or other examples of promises people never intended to actually fulfill.

Introduce the students to homonyms – words that sound the same when spoken, but are spelled differently and mean very different things. Have students give examples of homonym pairs they know. Once the students understand the concept of homonyms, divide them into teams. Have teams draw a card with a homonym word pair on it. The team should then create a sentence using each word properly, but with the sentence itself still being a little unclear unless you know the meaning of each homonym. (Students may need dictionaries to discover the meaning of words new to them.) Once created, the team can then read its sentence to the rest of the class. The first team to guess the correct meaning and spelling of each word in the homonym pair, gets a point. You may want to alternate drawing cards or have the cards evenly divided amongst the teams. The teams can write all of their sentences during a short amount of time and then alternate reading sentences and guessing words. There are many possible pairs of words and they will vary slightly depending on local accents (Ex. bean and been are homonyms in Britain and Canada, but not in the U.S.).

Here are some word pairs to get your class started: acts/ax(e), ad/add. air/heir/err, aisle.isle, altar/alter, allowed/aloud, arc/ark, ate/eight, eye/I, bail/bale, bald/bawled, band/banned, berry/bury, base/bass, be/bee, beat/beet, beau/bow, been/bin, billed, build, blew/blue, boar/bore, board/bored, bold/bowled, brake/break, buy/by/bye, capital/capitol, cell/sell, cent/scent/sent, chews/choose, chili/chilly, coarse/course, dear/deer, do/dew/due, die/dye, ewe/you, facts/fax, feat/feet, find/fined, fir/fur, flea/flee, for/four, hair/hare, heal/heel, hole/whole, hour/our, in/inn, night/knight, know/no, knows/nose, lay/lei, lie/lye, made/maid, mail/male, main/mane, miner/minor, oar/or/ore, one/won, pail/pale, pair/pare/pear, peace/piece, poor/pour/pore, principal/principle, rain/rein, read/reed, real/reel, sail/sale, sea/see, sew/so/sow, son/sun, steal/steel, tail/tale, their/there/they’re, to/too/two, toe/tow, wait/weight, wood/would, your/you’re

Additional Questions:

  • What words are there that are spelled the same, sound the same, but have very different definitions depending on how the word is used?

Supplemental Activity: Have more advanced students research and find words that are basically the same word, but have definitions that can mean very different things. If students can find enough examples, try playing the game again using these words with multiple very different meanings. Have students guess which definition of the word is used by the context of the rest of the sentence.