Word study has been on my mind a lot recently...I really am striving to create a classroom environment that supports students in becoming "word thinkers" and not just decoders. I want the students to be thinking about a word's meaning, structure, and spelling patterns and not just "how to say it". I also want to encourage students to not only examine words, but phrases and moods created with words as well. I have always had students do word observations of their names to start off word study for the year, but was looking for a way to transfer it to reading and writing. Here it is!
While perusing the blog, Teaching in the 21st Century, Maria has a post on "Stretching Wonderopolis into the Summer." (Which by the way, if you have not used Wonderopolis, check it out!!!!! It has completely transformed what I think about inquiry in the classroom and how research can be embedded in our student's everyday reading workshop, not just a research project at the end of the year...but that is a post for another day :) She refers us to one of Wonderopolis' posts titled, "How Did Dinosaurs Get Their Names?". There it was! A video to build background knowledge, an article to inform the students, and a list of root words to inspire the creation of your own dinosaur! I can transfer our observations about our names to understanding the names of dinosaurs! I am going to do a mini-lesson on having your eyes open for word origins to determine the meaning of unknown words and do what Wonderopolis suggests...have the students create a dinosaur using the root words listed. During this activity they will see exactly how a root word and its origin impacts the meaning of words. If students still have lingering questions or feel that their reading journey takes them to finding out more about word origins, I will have the following book available...
I am hoping that this activity will be just the right start toward encouraging students to look at the impact that origins, prefixes, and suffixes have on a word's meaning in their reading and writing.