Word Staircases

Word Staircases – Teach One Reach OneScripture: Genesis 27-28

Learning Objectives:

  • Students will review the story of Jacob’s blessing and dream.
  • Students will learn Jacob had a dream that included stairs (or ladders depending upon your translation).
  • Students will learn that stairs can be used to represent going from a lower level to a higher level.
  • Students will learn about synonyms and the importance of using them when writing.
  • Students will participate in an activity to help them practice thinking of synonyms for words commonly used in writing.

Guiding Question: What synonyms can you use in your writing to make it more interesting than using the same common words multiple times?

Materials: sheets with a basic staircases or ladders drawn on it – each staircase should have at least six steps on it, pencils

Procedure: Review the story of Jacob focusing on Jacob’s dream. Discuss the ideas that sometimes objects can represent ideas, for example staircases can represent the idea of going from a lower level to a higher level. Share with students that you are going to play a game to practice a skill which can take their writing from a lower level to a higher level. Remind the students of the meaning of synonym. Have them give several examples. Tell students you are going to give them a very basic word many people use when writing a story or paper. You will give them two minutes to write a synonym for that word on each step on the staircase. When time is called, have students share the synonyms they listed. Play multiple rounds, using as many words your students commonly use in their writing as possible. (Note: You may need to adjust the time allowed for each round depending upon the ease with which your students can produce synonyms.)

Additional Questions:

  • What other things can writers do to avoid using the same words multiple times in their writing?

Supplemental Activity: Have more advanced students think of other ways writers can avoid using the same words multiple times. You may want to provide them with a short passage which contains the same words used over and over. Have them rewrite the passage using the ideas they generated. Which ideas worked well?