I devised this Google presentation. (If I have the whole class using the same Google doc at the same time, I tend to use slides. It's less distracting.) Slide 4 shows what they all looked like when we started. It took me a little while to find appropriate lists of synonyms, but they did a great job with the etymology dictionary, and they were able to identify the differing levels of usage compared to the source of the language. They also were able to connect these words to the historical events we had studied. Yes, I could have handed them the concept that words that came into English through Latin and French have a higher status today than those that came through Old English and Old Norse, but because they discover that themselves, it creates a sort of mental muscle memory, to kill the metaphor.
I will teach the same unit to another class next semester, and I will probably adjust this a little to formalize the report of their conclusions. But generally, I was very happy with how this went.