Concept Mapping Thesaurus

During my student teaching program, I once gave students some general advice to use a thesaurus to find more descriptive words for their writing.  Then, to my horror, one of the best students replaced some of his good word choices with "synonymns" that really changed the meaning of his writing and making it nonsensical rather than improving it.  Yikes!  Did I really fail to explain that not every word in the thesaurus entry is interchangeable with your word?  You always have to consider original context and word meaning.

Visual Thesaurus, free at the time, saved the day.  It showed how synonymns are grouped based on their association and meaning.  You can still use Visual Thesaurus to run a few searches on a trial basis.

While preparing for my thesaurus lesson with fourth graders this year, I went in search of a free online visual thesaurus to share.  I found two that I really liked: and  Both offer the same visual grouping of words that can be refocused on different sets of words by clicking on a node.  This is a great way to make sure students see how words are connected.

this image from Visual
(but visuwords and graphwords looks about the same)


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