Getting in those Root Words!

One of the most favorite things I do all year is teach my students Greek and Latin Roots.  I just feel like if they can master these roots, from which so very much of our English language is derived from, the expansion of vocabulary and word attack strategies will increase ten-fold.  So I dedicate time each week to these important pieces of language.  

Last year, I wrote a few posts about how I taught them (you can find the posts here), and this year I have revamped it just slightly....and I wanted to share.

I really don't have a Root Word program (though I honestly am still searching!  I would love to have a more prescribed way of doing this other than what I just came up with)  Like last year, I teach my students 2-4 root words per week.  I am actually thinking of upping that number as the year progresses.  I really believe they can handle it.  But for now, it will stay at 2-4.  Like before, to introduce the words, I have the students create index cards with the root, the definition, and a picture of the meaning on the front. 
root words, language arts

The back of the cards has sample words containing the roots, as well as meanings. They keep these flash cards all year long to study, create games, use during writing, etc....

thinking maps, teachinginroom6.blogspot.com, education
I then had my students create Circle Maps divided into four sections for the roots (meaning, sentence with a word that shows the meaning, picture, and different sample words).  These were done in groups and were very helpful with the retention of the roots.  Since they are discussing them, the roots become even more cemented in their brains.


laura candler, centers, homework, reading, language arts
Now, here is what is new this year.  Laura Candler's new book Laura Candler's Graphic Organizers for Reading: Teaching Tools Aligned with the Common Core had this AMAZING little foldable in it that I fell in love with.  The visual appeal of it was stunning, and it was just very useful to me.  So I added this little gem into the mix for classwork during our Reading Rotations.  Now, the students create this (blank, to fill in with the roots) each week and complete it at during rotations.  This is great because they are finding even MORE examples than they were before.  I require the students to find at least 10 words containing the root.  They then bring it back and we discuss.  I find that the more they are looking for the roots, the more they are reading and discovering vocabulary. It is a win-win for everyone.



For homework, though, I have actually tried to combine all of what I was doing before.  Now I have them use these AWESOME (yes, I just called one of my resources awesome.....because it truly is) Trifolds.  They are so easy.  So to the point.  And SO EFFECTIVE!  My kids really are digesting the roots because of these trifolds.  I am in love with them.

Finally, I added to the Word Wall that I was already doing.  Before, it was sort of hit or miss if I actually got around to putting the roots on the wall.  I was just lazy or forgetful or busy or....whatever other excuse I can put there.   But, I created some cards over the summer and now I have them ready to go!  They are cut out and laminated and ready to be put on my new word wall (which I made out of felt this year...also something new)  I also have them posted up for the week, sort of like spelling words would be (DUH!!  Why didn't I do that sooner???) 


It sincerely is my hope that you are able to gain something useful for your classroom from reading my posts, and not feel like I am trying to plug my "stuff" every step of the way.  I know that some of you will be able to take what I am saying and recreate it yourself...and that is OK!  If you don't want to....my store is there for you.  But truly, I just want to share ideas with you.  So take what you can and run with it!





65 comments

  1. I am having a word wall up in my room this year because now I have a place to put them in!

    rmariemuniz@hotmail.com

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  2. I am using the frayer model organizer for each new vocab word in math and language arts. I found one on a blog with 6 of them per page so they won't take up too much room in their notebooks.

    heatherbeyerlein@gmail.com

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  3. We are being encouraged to focus more on Greek and Latin roots this year and I have been looking for ideas on how to teach them in my classroom. Thanks for the giveaway! :)

    hrt4tchng@hotmail.com

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  4. I like the Frayer model, too. My 5th grade team is trying a "Word of the Week" this year. We post a word with a greek or latin root, and let students try to figure out the meaning. Then we discuss and add it to the word wall. We're starting out easier and then moving to more difficult. I like to relate the word to our reading group story. We read "Wilma Unlimited" so our word was "biography" last week. Thanks for sharing!

    dritchie@vt.edu

    Young Daze in 5th Grade

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  5. I have my word wall and notebook personal ones for the students. Would love yours!
    Douglea65@Gmail.com

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  6. I Have a word wall and planned to use it for interesting vocabulary. I am new to teaching roots and really need some guidance getting this started in my fifth grade classroom!

    Laura
    Lauraerausch@gmail.com

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  7. I love you ideas for teaching roots!! This is something i'd like to look into incorporating more of this year.

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  8. One of my goals this year is to incorporate more word work into my Daily 5. I had a word wall that we collected WOW Words. (wonderful Outstanding Words). We would add words that we found from our class and independent reading. I love the idea of using felt. How do you get them to stick on??? Felt or Velcro?

    I have been collecting ideas and love your index cards and circle maps. I would love your cards!

    Thanks for sharing!!!
    Kelly
    khall312@verizon.net

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    1. I use velcro. It really is sort of awesome :) My teaching partner actually did ALL of her bulletin boards in felt and I LOVE it. I am going to change all of them over soon for sure. They just look so crisp and clean. It is fabulous.

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  9. I am using the frayer model for vocabulary. So very helpful! Love your ideas and plan to incorporate them in my 5th grade classroom! Thank you!

    barrb@k12tn.net

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  10. My 5th grade team was told to incorporate content words and root words into our spelling curriculum. The content words have been fine, but wrapping our heads around how to teach roots and how to have our kids take ownership of them has been a whole different story. I took down my horrid word wall-my kids never even looked at it. I really think that I'll have a lot more success with a root word wall. Genius! I'm so glad you thought of this because it's exactly what I have been looking for!

    Alisa
    blacka@carbonschools.org

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  11. There is a big push for root word study in my county as well. I teach 7th grade. I have a word wall (called "Word Nerd Wall") and I post the new roots we study each week. We are studying these roots in science instead of ELA since more of them tend to be science related like atmo for atmosphere, etc. I love using foldables and will be checking out the Laura Candler book. Any other ideas you wish to share, please do.

    Randy
    rseldomridge@caldwellschools.com
    The Middle School Mouth

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  12. I will be starting the Daily 5 with my class this year and am on the lookout for ideas for their word work. Thanks for the giveaway!

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  13. I will have the kids use at least 2 of the words in their weekly writing...they can highlight the words with the roots for maybe 2 bonus points.
    Thank you for the ideas - I can't wait to use these for the first time!

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  14. They'll have no excuse words as well as new vocabulary words from each reading unit...hopefully they'll start being more creative in their writing!

    :) Kaitlyn
    Smiles and Sunshine

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  15. This year I'd like to find a way for my students to have more experiences using the vocab words in their writing and encourage them to use them orally. I definitely agree that if students have a deeper understanding of word structure they'll be much more comfortable in knowing and using them. Thanks Stephanie for always motivating me with all your different ideas.

    Rosan
    rogwachi@gmail.com

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  16. I am moving from K to 5th, so everything I am doing is new! I am trying Daily 5 and CAFE.

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  17. After children have edited their writing and fixed the words they know are spelled wrong by using the word wall or writing dictionary, I will edit it. I will put a dot on each line that has a spelling mistake and kids need to find it and then fix it (with my help if needed). I

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  18. I am working on prefixes and suffixes as well as roots. I have trees (where the roots are the root word) and we can add words as leaves).

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  19. I have a Math Word Wall - so this is the first year I'm really pushing an increase in Math Vocabulary. I'm planning to incorporate root words but I'm not sure how I'm going to do it yet. I love your ideas!

    Jennifer
    jzolikoff@q.com

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  20. just awesome! you continue to inspire!

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  21. I am focusing more on vocabulary than i have in past years. I am determined to stay consistant with my word wall and want to incorperate Greek and Latin throughout the year.

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  22. I am focusing more on vocabulary than i have in past years. I am determined to stay consistant with my word wall and want to incorperate Greek and Latin throughout the year.

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  23. I am trying to improve my Daily 5 word work station this year. The focus in my district is word work so this year my goal is to have my students work with words in more meaningful ways, including understanding prefixes/ suffixes/ root words etc.

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  24. I was actually planning to try teaching Greek/Latin roots all year when I noticed this post! This is my second year teaching, and last year our pacing guide included these roots for only a few weeks toward the end of the year. This summer I was thinking how beneficial it would be to teach them all year, so I'm glad I saw this post! Thanks! :)

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  25. I use the books "Greek and Latin Roots" and "More Greek and Latin Roots" in my 6th grade classroom. My new goal this year is similar to yours: to devote a bulletin board to displaying our roots. I also plan on encouraging students to notice the roots in our read aloud and their own novels by having a poster where they can record any words they notice.

    Leb86@aol.com

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  26. I teach 5th grade, and I have started a word wall. We focus on 4 words a week. I am trying to dig deeper into prefixes, suffixes, and roots. I still haven't figured out how to do spelling other than 20 words a week. Could really use some more ideas for spelling. Should I have spelling tests of 4 words each week? That doesn't really sound right? I hope to incorporate our word wall words into stories or writings. Thank you so much for the ideas on better ways to teach vocabulary!!

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  27. I love, love the foldable idea. I am definately using this!
    This year, everyday, we are working with words more whole class. Before, students did a lot with a parnter, but I didn't feel they were truly grasping the concepts.

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  28. Something new I am trying this year (also school mandated) is to only introduce 5 vocabulary words per week (from texts we are reading in class). Hopefully this means the students learn and retain these words instead of learning 20 words and forgetting them. I actually bought your root word wall cards during the back to school sale because I want to incorporate roots into our word study.

    joyce.eizenga@yahoo.com

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  29. I'm focusing this year on content words from across the subjects using a vocabulary pocket chart.

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  30. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  31. Well, I moved from 1st to 4th...so everything is new this year! LOL! :-) No, actually, I am doing vocab activities everyday in class with our weekly words, using activities from Bringing Words to Life (great book!). One day we do a game I call Match It, where I say a word or phrase and they have to match it to a vocab word. It's not a synonym that I say, something a little more abstract. Sometimes more than one word could work, but the students have to explain why the words go together. They like it and get creative! Amy

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  32. I am focusing on greek and latin root word instruction this year also and was thinking a word wall would be perfect addition!

    bkraft05@gmail.com
    http://fabandfunin4th.blogspot.com/

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  33. I am using more interactive notebooks with my vocabulary. I love the foldable that was in Laura Candler's book. It makes it easy to put in their notebooks. I am also using a box method like your circle method for the root words. Thanks for the inspiration--your blog is one of my favorites!!

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  34. I love these ideas and will be working to add some into our language development. I'm very familiar with Laura Candlers flip book but never thought to use it in this manner. I will definitely be using that this year.
    Thanks for the chance to win these word wall cards!

    Mross@pdsd.org

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  35. Hello!
    Love your blog! I am incorporating a lot more Greek and Latin roots into our vocabulary study by using a root word wall as well as interactive notebooks. I also bought Laura Candler's book so I am excited to use that. Thanks!

    sdanderson20@att.net

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  36. I love these ideas and will be working to add some into our language development. I'm very familiar with Laura Candlers flip book but never thought to use it in this manner. I will definitely be using that this year.
    Thanks for the chance to win these word wall cards!

    Mross@pdsd.org

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  37. I typically do vocabulary for every subject including reading, math, social studies and science. For each word they must draw a picture, write the word, and write the definition from a kid friendly dictionary. I sometimes also do a graphic organizer with the word in the middle, one picture, the dictionary definition, definition in their own words and use it in a sentence. I am considering focusing on the roots this year.

    fscjc2@yahoo.com

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  38. I am formally adding a word work section to my ELA block, so this Latin/Greek word wall cards would be great. Thanks for having this giveaway!

    erin.m.varley@gmail.com

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  39. I'm having my kids do graphic organizers I found on curriculum companion.org

    pjohnson854@sbcglobal.net

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  40. I used the exact same graphic organizer foldable, also from Laura Candler, for the first time this year. I do like the idea of roots flash cards, and will get those going as well. Last year I taught several roots every week, and the students did very well learning them. This year, all the 5th grade classes in the district use the same list, so we only introduce 2 roots weekly.

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  41. Love this idea Stephanie! I have a word wall up in my room but it's an easier concept to do with the lower grades bc word walls are sight words. Love a root word wall! I'd love to win this! :)

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  42. I love this! One new thing that I'm doing this year is teaching reading to 5th graders. For the last five years, I have taught 5th grade Social Studies. As I am working in my new content, I am seeing how important root word instruction is, so I would love to win this set of cards!
    miranda.yonts@yahoo.com

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  43. Love it! I was considering adding Laura Chandler's foldable too...I like your idea using it as homework. I am thinking of making it homework!!!

    Stephanie
    mcafeestph26@hotmail.com

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  44. thanks for your ideas. I'm using Marzano's approach for teaching vocab so students make cards for study. my first year so much to develop.

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  45. I am using an old book I found...Red Hot Vocab or something like that to teach the roots and hopefully boost vocab. I would love to win the word wall set!

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  46. I really love the foldable and it is so visually appealing. I have a word wall up but I am really excited to incorporate root words in addition to vocabulary we come across in our reading. Thanks for the great ideas!

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  47. I really love the foldable! We incorporate any roots we find in our content area reading. This really helps build their working vocabulary.

    debinderry@gmail.com

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  48. How do you decide on your roots that you use? I use Laura's foldable for my buzzwords, which I love. I think I will add the roots, but only do the cards and circle map in their reading spiral. We have a section for Greek and Lating roots.

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    Replies
    1. I researched the most common root words used in the English language and went from there.

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  49. We are doing several things - my small universal access group focuses upon one word and then we write about it, share it, draw it etc. I am also using activities from www.fcrr.org

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  50. The drawing is officially closed. We have 3 winners!!

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  51. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  52. We use Rasinski's program, Building Vocabulary in Grades 5-8. It's not great in that some of the exercises are silly, and there are like 3 things on a page. What it does give is a Divide and Conquer method of figuring out words. Rasinski's books can help you flesh out the program and he does have a list of roots to present in grades 3-8. Check out his work.
    Diane

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  53. Thanks so much for these ideas. Is the explanation for the new foldables that you are doing in that book that you bought? If not can you give me a little more direction. I am a bit directionally challenged until I actually see something in action. I have an extremely high group of 3rd graders who are nearly two years about grade level as well as there being a root goal in our common core so I would love to start incorportating this with them. Thanks for the help.

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    1. An explanation for the foldable is in the Laura Candler book mentioned above :)

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  54. Hi Stephanine, I don't think anyone has mentioned Words Their Way as a resource for root words. The last book, Derivational Relations, looks at affixes as well as greek and latin roots. It is very systemic and gives you lists of words. Even if you don't complete the 'sorts' and other activities associated with Words Their Way, the lists might be very helpful for you.

    http://www.amazon.com/Words-Their-Derivational-Relations-Spellers/dp/0135145783

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  55. Just a parent here, and just found this, and I'm curious as to if you still have regular vocabulary or do you only do the root word program?
    They are doing this in our 5th grade this year and it is not going well with the 5th grade as responses like, I don't speak Latin and Greek why am I'm learning it? Or I don't remember it the next day?
    What happen to our other vocabulary"

    Hard to give them an answer and the answer they get from the teacher a good reason.

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    1. Many of the words that we have in the English language are derived from Greek and Latin roots. So, it really isn't about knowing Greek or Latin, it is about knowing the meaning of the roots that are already in our language to help us figure out what unknown words mean.

      For example, if you know that "cent" means "hundred", words like century, percent, centimeter, centigrade, etc...all are made a bit more understandable. Knowing that each has something to do with 100 makes it easier to try and input a meaning when reading than if you didn't know that at all.

      Since so many of our English words are derived from these roots, learning them makes more sense (to me) than learning individual vocabulary words that you may or may not encounter again. These roots WILL be a part of words that you will see the rest of your life, so including them in instruction is useful.

      Just my opinion of course, but that I why I teach roots.

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  56. Try Michael Clay Thompson Building Language or Ceasar's Stems programs for intro to Latin stems

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  57. YES! Whomever mentioned Michael Clay Thompson is brilliant! We use Caesar's English and I have the kids do LOTS of things with the stems and words they learn so that they are getting used to not only working with them, but also learning them to use in their writing! It's wonderful!

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  58. Vocabulary is not only sign of symbol for ideas but also a part of how to improve language skills in the target language. The more vocabulary students learn the more ideas they should have, so they can communicate by using their ideas more effectively. https://vocabmonk.com helps you to improve your Vocabulary.
    Try It…!!

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  59. Alright -- I’m not a big fan of the spelling assessment work I have to do for my kids. But, SmArTy-K12 to the rescue. It’s an app I got for my phone that straight up chews through the grading process. I spend minutes grading spelling tests where I used to spend hours. It’s one of those things that I can’t imagine not having in the classroom at this point. I put my list in, I have my kids take their tests online (you can enter their tests manually too, though), and *poof* I have my grades done for me. None of the math, barely any time spent grading.

    The app’s $25 on the App Store, but it’s totally worth it. I save a ton of time and cut out all the hassle of having to grade these tests by hand.

    The app’s on the Apple App Store (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/smarty-k12/id767644570) and, if you want to check it out a bit more before you think about buying it, the dev’s site is here: http://www.spk12ed.com/smarty-k12.html. Go check it out and tell me what you think. I hope you fall in love with it, much like I did.

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