Collaborative Brainstorm: Connecting word roots and endings

Find more low prep activities at this page periodically.

Perhaps there is a better name than collaborative brainstorm. Here are instructions for a vocabulary activity that will:

  • Quickly arrange students into groups
  • Allow students to notice morpheme patterns in vocabulary words
  • Create quick data for the instructor to determine which word forms students have acquired

First, I scanned the Latin vocabulary spreadsheets that I create to use with regular continuous learning vocabulary quizzes. Check out the post for how I use regular vocabulary quizzes to offer students a chance to build self monitoring skills of learning. I chosse 2-4 forms of enough words that each member of a class would find a partner or group with the same word root. For example, in Latin one I use the forms putare and putabat for one pair. Students were instructed to grab a white board and write down as many forms of the word as possible. In the upper levels I gave students 3-4 root words which allowed them some choice in their groups. They had to group up with classmates that had at least 1 of the same Latin roots. I then roamed the room and conducted quick mini grammar lessons over verb conjugations, noun declension and cases or adjectives. These mini lessons still focused in meaning but many students recognized patterns. Some strengths of this activity were:

  • Students formed groups quickly
  • Students had at least 2 forms of a word, which helped them determine a stem
  • As students wrote words they began to see patterns
  • Students tried connecting all kinds of endings to stems
  • My conversation focus was on recognition of stems and endings that they correctly recognized
  • Immediate feedback
  • I saw some quick patterns. For example, Latin 3 students have acquired the imperfect tense fairly well, but not the perfect tense. As we start second semester I will plan to create a class story that has flashback scenes to offer more input with the perfect tense

Many students increased their vocabulary scores on the next regular vocabulary quiz by 1-3 points out of 20 because they recognized endings more clearly.

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