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Visual Dictionary for Root/Prefix/Suffix Meanings

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Keywords: Prefixes, Suffixes, Root Words, Word Parts
Subject(s): Spelling, Writing, Reading, English/Language Arts
Grades 4 through 8
NETS-S Standard:
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Research and Information Fluency
  • Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
  • Technology Operations and Concepts
View Full Text of Standards
School: Pleasant Ridge Elem School, Glenview, IL
Planned By: Sarah Weale
Original Author: Sarah Weale, Glenview
1. Students will be given a list of common prefixes, suffixes, and roots. Using dictionaries and online tools, students will find the meanings for these word parts.
2. Students will then use dictionaries and online tools to find a sample word that uses each root. Students will be encouraged to select a word that will help them remember the definition of the root. The teacher will help student choose good reminder words, not just words that have the root. For example, the root "tele" means far. A student could select the word telescope as a good reminder word. It would be easy to remember that we use a telescope to see objects that are far way. A more difficult reminder would be "television" as some students may not easily make the connection between "far" and "television". The teacher will go through a few examples with the class and discuss what would make a weak vs. strong reminder word for each example.
3. Student
3. Once students have a list of definitions and reminder words, they will write "reminder sentences" using the reminder words. These sentences should offer clues as to the root's meaning. For example, "We looked through the telescope to see objects far away from earth."
4. Students will use clip art and publishing software (powerpoint, notebook, etc.) to create visual dictionaries. These dictionaries will be set up in slides that slowly reveal the meaning of each root. Each "entry" of a root word will contain 4 slides. The first slide will be the root word alone (tele). The second slide will be a clip art picture of the reminder word (a picture of a telescope). The third slide will contain the sentence with clues to the root's meaning ("We looked through the telescope to see objects far away from earth.") The final slide will contain the actual definition of the root ("far").
5. When students have completed their dictionaries, they will present to a partner while challenging that partner to determine the meaning of each root. While presenting they will show each entry one slide at a time, pausing after each slide to give their partner a chance to determine the root's meaning. Some students will know the meaning after the first slide. If they do not, they will proceed to the clip art slide which will serve as a hint. If they still cannot determine the meaning, the sentence slide will be revealed. Finally, the actual definition will be revealed to determine if the student was correct or not.
6. The teacher can evaluate each dictionary to determine mastery of the concept, or the teacher could present an outstanding dictionary to the entire class using a projector. The teacher could quiz the class on each root's meaning while projecting the dictionary (and neglecting to show the final slide for each word).
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
You could create these visual dictionaries for any subject vocabulary
You can project a dictionary at any point to serve as a review tool
Materials: Office Suite, Clip Art