Meaningful Word Study…thanks to Morphology!

November 3, 2013

Meaningful Word Study…thanks to Morphology!

November 3, 2013
One of my absolute FAVORITE things to teach each week is Word Study. Words have always fascinated me…their origins, their meanings, their power when used in speaking and writing. And, I’ve found over the years, it’s really easy to get 5th graders excited about the power of words as well!
Which is why our Morphology Dictionary is the heart of spelling and vocabulary learning in our class.
My students use this dictionary with each new set of words we study. They just love to find common affixes and roots, as well as learning their meanings. I love how I am able to create high-level, meaningful, and differentiated word lists for my students each week.

And it’s really easy to do!
I start each new unit by looking over the content we will be covering for the week…especially in Science, Social Studies, and Math.
I find all of the key vocabulary we will encounter during the week:

and find affixes and roots to support these words from the Teacher Word List resource that comes with the student Morphology Dictionary:

(there are over 7,500 words to choose from in here, so I can usually find some words to connect to our learning for the week!)
I check off the words I’d like to use and create a list for my upper-level group first (this is usually a 25 or 30 word list). This word list will be used for a spelling test on Friday, as well as a vocabulary test every couple of weeks.
After creating the first list, I eliminate some of the more complex words and create subsequent lists for my 20 Word and 10 Word groups:

I work with a very diverse population of 5th graders and we always, always say how everyone learns the material they need. But what I love the most is that we all learn the same thing, just differentiated for our needs.

So, each Monday, students receive their new list, pull out their Morphology Dictionaries, and start identify common affixes and roots they see within their lists. 
We share out our findings on the document camera and highlight those affixes and roots:
Next, we record them in our Morphology Dictionaries:

On our word list sheets (which the students take home to study) we record any prefixes, suffixes, and roots we’ve identified:

as well as their meanings, as found in our dictionaries:

This is my second year of using our Morphology Dictionary and it has truly transformed the way my students approach words. They think deeply about their meanings and make connections throughout the week…nothing warms my heart more than to hear “hey, this word has the root ‘pop’ like population!”. It is the best 🙂

If you are interested in the spelling sheet we use, you can download it and customize it here (it’s in a Powerpoint format):

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B2ARzMSbNzXNdlJ6Q3Q0WlM4M0k/edit?usp=sharing

If you would like to read more about the Morphology Dictionary, you can see it in store (at a discounted price) by clicking the image below:

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Morphology-Dictionary-A-Student-Reference-Book-of-Prefixes-Suffixes-and-Roots-680661
Thank you so much for visiting! Up next, classroom tour!

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