Multiple Meaning Words – Ideas for Teaching

An orange (noun) is a fruit and orange (adjective) is a color. Therefore, the word orange, is a multiple meaning word (MMW) because as the definition would state, both words have the same spelling and pronunciation, but different meanings. An example of it being used (twice) in a sentence is: The girl with orange hair is eating a juicy orange. Teaching this topic would require pictures to depict each meaning, then this could be followed by having the words used in sentences for context. I particularly like to challenge my older classes to make a sentence with a MMW being used twice for both meanings to be represented. I’d also get them to figure out the part of speech that each meaning represents. This is generally a fun topic to teach. Multiple Meaning Words lend themselves to a variety of activities.For my classroom word wall, I decided to go with an orange background since the word orange itself is a multiple meaning word. (Green is also another option – it’s a color and it means ‘not yet ripe’). Personally for me, I’d use the orange in the Fall and use the green in the Spring season. I actually made more word wall cards than you see below in the picture. I will switch them out as soon as my students are well acquainted with these. You can choose to only use the cards in batches – that fit into a common theme.

How do you like my definition sentence strip at the top? For you own classroom, you may be interested in these resources for teaching about multiple meaning words:

Multiple Meaning Words Memory Game – matching activity

Multiple Meaning Words – Word Wall (see the pictures above)

Multiple Meaning Words – worksheets, card game, graphic organizers and activities