Portfolio Activity for “Defining Moments”

Children’s dictionaries have the power to shape how kids see the world. Be sure yours promotes tolerance.

This activity is to accompany the Teaching Tolerance article "Defining Moments."


  1. How often do you use a dictionary to look up a word you don’t know?
  2. What do you do if the word is not listed in the dictionary?
  3. Do you ever wonder if the dictionary definition could be incorrect?
  4. Do you ever check more than one dictionary to compare the definitions? 

Are you ready to be a dictionary detective? Language changes very fast. Sometimes it’s hard for the dictionary to keep up with how certain words are being used. Use your detective skills to complete the chart below. Use three different dictionaries to look up the definition for each word in the first column. Consider what is similar and different. Is anything missing? Finally, write your own definition in the last column. It should reflect what you think is the most common and appropriate use of the word. 

Around the Web
This online resource from the Human Rights Campaign offers several helpful compilations of age-appropriate definitions for grades K to 5 for words related to LGBTQ issues, bullying and more.

Add to an Existing Learning Plan
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