The Game: Word Ditto explores multiple meaning words. Multiple meaning words are just that: They have two or more meanings.
There are two main types of multiple meaning words:
- Those that sound alike (ex. bark as in the bark of a tree and the bark of a dog)
- Those that sound differently (ex. windy as in a windy day and a windy road)
Within these two main groups of multiple meaning words, there can be differences in:
- Capitalization (ex. You may see flowers in May.)
- Punctuation (ex. He prepared a résumé to find a job to resume working.)
- Parts of speech (ex. I like to fish (verb). The fish (noun) swam in the sea.)
- Tenses (ex. My aunt read the books that you like to read.)
- Degrees – literal or figurative (ex. My apartment is below yours. The corporal ranks below the general.)
- 36 index cards
- markers (6 assorted colors)
- a die
- multiple meaning words and definitions
How to Play
Students can play individually or in groups.
- Place the numbered cards in a row across the table.
- Shuffle each set of colored cards and turn them over in a separate pile next to each numbered card.
- The first student or group shakes a die. Depending on the number, they turn the first card over in that corresponding pile. (If all of the cards for that color are used, the student forfeits a turn.)
- The student, with teacher help (depending on proficiency level), reads the card.
- The student tries to figure out the multiple meaning word.
- If correct, one point is awarded.
- Play moves to the next person.
- If incorrect, the answer is read aloud by the teacher.
- The game is over when all of the cards are used.
How to Make It
- First, prepare the Word Ditto cards. Take 6 cards and number each 1 through 6 using a different colored marker.
- Next, copy the 30 multiple meaning definitions below (and/or add some of your own) onto the index cards. You will make 5 cards using each marker color.
- Prepare an answer sheet for the teacher only.
- The number cards can be arranged on a blackboard or whiteboard with the Word Ditto cards placed on a table alongside the wall and underneath the numbered cards.
- Play continues until a certain number of points is reached or a certain amount of time has passed.
- Don’t use the die. Instead, shuffle the cards as one deck and turn one card over at a time.
- Don’t play for points.
- For more advanced students, require them to also state the parts of speech for each meaning before they’re awarded points on a turn.
Examples of Multiple Meanings to Use, and Answers
- To bounce a basketball. To drip milk from your chin. (dribble)
- Famous people who live in Hollywood. Things in the night sky. (stars)
- What fighters do in the ring. A cardboard container. (box)
- A game you play on a table. A place to swim. (pool)
- The sound of a clock. A bug you might find on a dog. (tick)
- A part of your leg. A baby cow. (calf)
- Something that flies at night. Something you swing at a ball. (bat)
- A whole bunch of fish. The place where you take classes. (school)
- Things you touch when you play the piano. Things you need when you are locked out of the car. (keys)
- Something you write with. Where a pig lives. (pen)
- A computer part. A furry creature. (mouse)
- Something you wear on your finger. The sound that a bell makes. (ring)
- Things you wait in. Things that make up a drawing. (lines)
- Some unique characteristic of an elephant. A place to keep a spare tire. (trunk)
- Things that grow on your fingers. Things that hold boards together. (nails)
- Another name for a king or queen. Something you use to measure. (ruler)
- Things you can pour juice into. Things that can help you see more clearly. (glasses)
- Something worn on your wrist. What you do to a television. (watch)
- A place where a road goes two ways. A utensil used for eating. (fork)
- Something worn around the neck. A football game with both teams having the same score. (tie)
- A type of bird. What you do to avoid getting hit in the head. (duck)
- Something on a wrapped package. Something used to shoot an arrow. (bow)
- The edge of a river. A place where people keep their money. (bank)
- A tree that grows in warmer weather. A part of your hand. (palm)
- When you look around on the Internet. Something you might do in big waves. (surf)
- A layer of paint. Something you wear when it’s cold outside. (coat)
- Something you put on toast. A lot of traffic. (jam)
- A part of a tree. The sound a dog makes. (bark)
- An event similar to a carnival. In accordance to the rules. (fair)
- A type of container made of metal. What a motivated person says: “I ___!” (can)
Have fun with this game! And please feel free to share any other variations that you find worked with your students and your context.