Friday, February 22, 2013

 Generate- Sort- Connect - Elaborate
 This is an example of the generate, sort, and connect part.

My students in my skills class are needing word work to help break down vocabulary for meaning. I had my kids generate lists of prefixes on their desks with whiteboard markers. From there they partnered up with another student and compared their lists. I asked them to look at words that had similar roots following the prefix. They wrote "roots" on a large sheet of paper, chose 3-4 four of the ones they discovered coming off of branches from these.

Once this was done, I asked them to generate a list of words using these roots. They branched off of the roots with as many examples as possible of real words they could come up with by using our original list of prefixes and adding any suffixes they could think of.

At the end of this, I counted up each partnerships real words and gave them a prize.

Then I asked them to connect words that had similar prefixes with one color and similar suffixes with another color (look at the picture in green and orange to see a good example).

 This is an example of elaborating to create words.

Once they have connected all of their words with similar roots, they study them to try to discern what each piece means. If you look at the picture of the definition of roots, you can see how they did this.
This is a word students made up by understanding three different parts of words.

I then asked them to make up a non-real word using a prefix, a root, and a suffix. They then wrote out a definition to this non-real word in order to show their understanding of how these three pieces work together to create meaning and change parts of speech.

This lesson was important to my students and I because they need vocabulary building strategies and an understanding of parts of speech.


  1. I really like how at the end you had them create their own words and definitions to explain their thinking. What a fun way for them to show their understanding of the three word parts! Great job.

  2. My higher readers are ready for an activity like this. We've just started to touch on word parts and the creative aspect of this lesson is right up their alley. I'd have to introduce more simple prefixes and suffixes as a pre but I'm all over this lesson! Love it!

  3. What a great way to get students to understand word meanings! I really like how this activity demonstrates each step of going deeper and deeper especially when they were asked to make up their own word. It was also a great lesson in collaboration. Do you think you succeeded with your goal? In other words...since the routine, have your students demonstrated a deeper understanding of word parts and meanings?

  4. Holy cow! What a great way to teach something that is SO necessary, especially for struggling readers, but can be SO dry! Gone are the days of worksheets! I imagine the kids were so engaged in this activity, and truly LEARNED. This is awesome! Thanks for sharing such a great, cooperative activity!

  5. This is great, Charlie! I was hooked as soon as I learned that you let them write on their desks with markers, and I bet they were excited to do that too! I love the idea of a competition for making words to continue to keep engagemnt high.

  6. What a great lesson - made up words that have meaning. Knowing prefixes, roots, and suffixes can really helps students, too, with science vocabulary. You do such great work upstairs, No wonder they make such growth with you. You'll be missed. I'm going to do some trijecting right now.

  7. Charlie, I am impressed with the ingenuity of your lesson. This can be a dry, boring lesson yet you engaged the students to think and to synthesize by creating their own words. You will be missed!

  8. Charlie,

    This whole post was super interesting to me to see. Having kids at the lower grade levels, it is fun to see what the bigger kids can do with the whole word breakdown concept. I love the way they created words from their exploration and knowledge. Fun with words is what I try to encourage in my class too, but mine are still learning how to read so we are limited in ways you are not.


  9. Your study of words was amazing! What a wonderful way for your student's to break words down and put them back together. I LOVE that you had them make up their own words. Even though they are jaded middle schoolers, I bet that they left your lesson excited about our language and that is fabulous. Kudos to you!