Give your students background information on how words are formed and allow them to decode and build words of greater complexity with a lesson that introduces Latin word roots. Starting with basic spelling rules and patterns will create a foundation for strong writing, spelling, and reading skills. This sort opens discussions on derivational constancy and shows the way in which language evolved and still influences modern spelling. It additionally will allow students to gain knowledge on how to break down more complex and unfamiliar words as they synthesize knowledge of Latin root words.
Sample Classroom Procedure / Teacher Instruction:
- Explain to students that they are going to get a list of words to cut out and sort. They are going to look for patterns and sort the words into groups that fit the patterns.
- Distribute TWO copies of the spelling sort for each student. Instruct them to cut out only one copy.
- Students work independently to try to read the words and sort them into patterns. It is all right if students do not successfully sort them, this is an independent attempt to see if they recognize patterns.
- Walk through the classroom and see how students have sorted. Ask questions to students to build understanding, such as “When you look at these words, what do they have in common?” “What do you notice about these words?” “How are these words alike/different?”
- Call students together after sorting independently. Ask what patterns they noticed. The students should have identified patterns of roots within the words. Unlike prefixes, these words can be at the beginning, middle, or end of the word and can still be considered the root of the word. There are words containing -aud, vis/vid-, and cent-. All the words in this sort are derived from Latin words. These are Latin roots. Aud- to hear,vis/vid to see, and cent- hundred. Discuss how many of our common English words are actually derived from Latin and Greek roots. Explain that during this spelling lesson, students will be working to uncover how those meanings affect the rest of the word and give it its current meaning. For example, the word “percent” uses the word cent to mean hundred, and per meaning each. So percent translates to each part of one hundred, which children might understand better if you illustrate as how grades are given, ie a student who earned 95% on a test got 95 out of 100 possible points.
- As a group, create an anchor chart of the sort in the three columns. Write the spelling sort rules underneath, “In this sort, Latin roots shape the meaning of the entire word. Aud-means to hear,vis/vid means to see, and cent- means hundred.” Have students write the correct sort that you completed as a class in their spelling notebooks.
- Introduce the activity sheet where the students will use dictionaries to create a root word tree.
- Assign homework page- students take home the second sheet of words, cut them out at home, and sort them into the columns. They practice writing the rule at the bottom. Students should practice sorting words EACH NIGHT for several days. They may use writing sorts, sorting in the grid, speed sorts, play taboo and write sentences/definition at home with family members. Only one formal homework assignment is given here, but daily sorting and practice is encouraged, either at home or as part of your language arts center time.
- Students complete the practice sheet independently. They may work in partners or groups to support each other, but they should each complete an individual sheet. Students will use a dictionary to write definitions of all their words, specifically relating to how the Latin word influences the meaning. An excellent resource is http://www.etymonline.com/index.php which helps students understand the origins of parts of words to better understand the complete definition.
- Complete another in class sort with a partner. Students will complete a writing sort . Partners take turns drawing words from the pile and saying them aloud. The other partner must spell the word correctly and write it down. At the end, partners exchange papers and check with their piles to make sure their partner spelled accurately. The one with the most words spelled correctly wins.
Common Core State Standards:
Class Sessions (45 minutes): 3 days of activities/instruction- recommend spending at least five days familiarizing students with words in the sort.
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