Teaching kids to love the English language and how to dissect words to discover their meaning is not always easy. In my time as a teacher and then as a tutor, I have taken many different approaches to this pedagogy. Most recently I have embraced a Unit 1-12 bundle on root words, prefixes and suffixes which has proved outstanding (Root Words, Prefixes, & Suffixes Units 1-12 Bundle by Literacy in Focus (teacherspayteachers.com). offered through TeacherPayTeachers. Each page offers short exercises on a new root word, prefixes or suffixes. I usually keep these lessons short and focus on one affix at a time.
Another activity that my kids absolutely loved for vocabulary building involved graduated paintchips. I would start with a single word such as microscopic and then have students write synonyms based on the strength of the color and the meaning of the word. For instance, microscopic would be on the palest pink paint chip and small would be on the most saturated paint chip along with variations in between.
I also like to rely on age appropriate mad libs to expand vocab and learn about parts of speech. Mad libs has been around forever and pretty much guarantees fun for all ages plus it requires that students reach for words in their vocabulary
Finally, I have found using this “Words You Often Use” list (attached) to be invaluable for spelling and vocab with my students. I usually leave it on their desks for reference as they are writing. It is perfect for quick reference.
Beyond getting some fresh air and going on plenty of hikes how can we keep learning green during this most unusual time, even as things are opening up? I have found online academic games to be a fantastic way to enrich learning during a time when students are home more than usual. Prodigy is a free online math game which challenges Avatars with math battles. It is highly imaginative as well as being excellent math practice and has captured the attention of many of my little learners. Another game that I love is Blooket which has a fantastic database of math and ELA games and beyond. This is also free and they seem to be adding games which keeps it interesting. Quizziz is another great learning platform that I purchased but is a quiz show type game with a huge database of academic quizzes. As an author, you can also create your own quizzes. The students that I teach like this game for the content as well as because at different points in the game there are available powers such as time eraser (erasing the timer) and 2X the points for 1 question to keep it interesting. Finally, padlet is a free learning platform which is great for creating timelines, image boards and more. As a tutor I have found it fun to incorporate a digital recess online in which students can discuss a question of the week or an item of the week such as a favorite toy. Although we are all struggling to determine how much screen time to allow, the Internet makes it so that learning can be fun and educational. And following all of this online learning, I have never underestimated the benefit of a good hike with my own daughter!