Lesson Plan:

Onomatopoeia Zoo

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July 28, 2015
by Molly Stahl

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to identify and apply onomatopoeia in writing.


Introduction (5 minutes)

  • Write "onomatopoeia" on the board.
  • Challenge students to sound it out and make predictions of the word’s meaning.
  • Invite 3-5 students to share their predictions.
  • Practice saying the word together a few times.
  • Tell students there is a trick to remember how to spell onomatopoeia.
  • Sing (to the tune of "Old McDonald") O-N-O-M-A-T-O-P-O-E-I-A.

Explicit Instruction/Teacher Modeling (10 minutes)

  • Ask students, What song did I use to spell onomatopoeia?
  • Tell students "Old McDonald doesn’t" just help me remember how to spell it. It also tells me what it means.
  • Sing a few verses from "Old McDonald." Ask students to join in.
  • Ask again, What do you think this word means?
  • Guide students to create a definition for onomatopoeia.
  • Tell students they're on the right track with sounds, but onomatopoeia doesn’t mean just animal sounds. An onomatopoeia is a word that mimics the sound of the object or action it refers to.
  • Bring out the sound charades cards, and model how to play Sound Charades by acting. Instead of acting out silently, use onomatopoeia to help guessers guess what object or action you are imitating.

Guided Practice/Interactive Modeling (10 minutes)

  • Ask for volunteers one at a time to act out a word on one of the Sound Charades cards.
  • Invite students to guess each word.

Independent Working Time (20 minutes)

  • Tell students they will be choosing an object or animal to draw and write a sound for.
  • Let them know that they'll be putting all of the animals and objects together to make an onomatopaeia zoo.
  • Distribute the construction paper, art materials, and speech bubbles.
  • Assign each student an object or animal.
  • Give students time to draw, color, and cut out their object from construction paper.
  • Have students write an onomatopoeia on the speech bubble.
  • When they have finished, call students 2-3 at a time to attach their assignment to the bulletin board paper.



  • Enrichment: Challenge advanced students to think of their own object to draw and create a sound for. Have each student use 4-5 onomatopoeia in a story about his chosen object.
  • Support: Ask struggling students to include a minimum of two onomatopoeia in their story instead of three.

Related Books and/or Media

  • A Mouthful of Onomatopoeia by Bette Blaisdell
  • If You Were Onomatopoeia by Trisha Speed Shaskan


Assessment (15 minutes)

  • Have each student write a short story about the onomatopoeia zoo that includes at least three onomatopoeia.

Review and Closing (10 minutes)

  • Have each student read her story to a partner.
  • Invite students to share their stories.
  • Wrap up the lesson with a final question, e.g. How does using onomatopoeia help our writing?

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