Emily Dickinson referred to nature as “the gentlest mother.” This image of ushering out one season and kindly welcoming in another, reminds me of the joys of living in an area with changing seasons. Nature’s “conversation” each season makes me think about ways teachers can tie the changing seasons to classroom instruction.
Homophones – words that sound the same but have a different meaning and spelling – provide a fun way to combine nature’s “household, Her assembly” with an activity to help students remember different homophones. In this case, nature includes many of earth’s creations, including food, animals, and outdoor activities.
NATURE-THEMED PRINTABLE HOMOPHONE ACTIVITY
Start by printing the Nature Homophone cards. You might want two or three sets so that after students find a match, they can get a new card and continue the activity.
Depending on the age of the students, consider printing the Nature Homophone chart. This will guide student’s thinking as they consider what homophone might be the one taped to their back.
SETTING UP THE ACTIVITY
The set-up for this activity is simple. Place all the cards face down on a table or desk. Each student will choose a card without looking at it. The teacher will tape the Nature Homophone card to the student’s back.
After every student has one card taped to their back, they will move around the room, pairing up with one other student at a time. They will designate who is Partner A and who is Partner B.
Next, Partner A will read Partner B’s card. Without saying what is printed on the card, Partner A will use sounds and actions so that Partner B guesses what their own card says. Then, Partner B will read Partner A’s card. Partner B will use sounds and actions so that Partner A guesses what their own card says.
If the cards are not matching homophones, students will find their next partner and use the same process to find a match. If the students find matching homophones, they can return to the card table where each student chooses a new card without looking at it. The teacher will tape the Nature Homophone card to the student’s back. They will continue pairing up until they find another match.
The student’s objective is to guess the correct word on their back and find their matching homophone. You might set a certain number of matches for all students to achieve or you might consider a time limit and see who matches the most.
EXTENDING THE ACTIVITY
After completing the interaction portion, students can select 5-10 words from the Nature Homophone chart and write a short story about spending time in nature and all the joy it brings! For instance, students might write about a deer wandering into their campsite as they tied down their tent. Or how the sun set looks different in the city than in the country and why.