Easter Egg Root Words

Ahhh.....spring time.  The time of year when my house becomes overrun with multicolored plastic eggs that get one day of use and then clutter up my living room.  For the past few years, I have given these eggs a new life in my classroom while practicing root words (recycling....perfect for Earth Day! ;))

Though the lesson I did the past two years worked well (read about it here), I just wanted to do something a bit less "competitive".  So here is what we did this year.

In preparation, using a permanent marker, I wrote the root words that we have been studying on the eggs.  One root per top, one root per bottom.  The eggs were then placed unmatched in little baskets.  In total, there were about 10 whole eggs per basket (give or take.)

The students were to take two sides of the egg, one top and one bottom, and create a brand new word.  The word that they created needed to be NEW, nothing they have ever heard before.  Words like "Unigraph" or "interpost" would be acceptable, however "telephone" or "subscribe" wouldn't.  When the students choose two egg halves, if a real word emerged, they had to rechoose one of the egg halves.    I gave the students a trifold recording sheet and asked them to use it to record 5 invented words.  

Once the student had invented 5 words, a definition needed to be created for each.  Now, a literal translation simply wasn't allowed.  If a student created "circumport" the definition could not be "around carry" since that is what the individual roots actually mean.  Instead, the student could say that when you circumport something you carry something back and forth, without actually using it as it was intended (ie: what I do with my papers to grade and teaching materials on the weekends...and they just stay in my trunk ;))  

The kids really wanted to give the literal definitions, and it took quite a bit of coaching and modeling to get them away from that and into the "dictionary" definitions.   But overall, I think most of the students "got" it quite quickly.

A picture was then to be drawn of the new word to compliment the definition and the part of speech, based on the definition, was to be determined.

Students also had to write two sentences using the new word in context, and include context clues in the sentence itself.  So writing something like, "The monograph is not working." wasn't enough.  They needed to write a sentence more like, "The monograph is not working so I need to write my own one word sentences instead of letting the machine do it."

The final piece of this was to take one word and create a "test" question for it.  We have been doing this a lot in class (every week actually, during our root word study...which I promise to write about soon) however I always give the questions and the students answer them.   So to make this more challenging, I asked the students to come up with their own question and the 4 multiple choice answers.  This was REALLY challenging but so valuable.  The kids were able to dissect the words even further and this activity allowed them to really think.

Here is a copy of the trifold that we used for this activity.
This was a really good way to get the kids thinking a bit more abstractly about the root words we have been learning.  It helped them to dig deeper into the meanings of the roots and determine how they fit together to form the language we speak today.  In total, this lesson took about 20 minutes to create the words and think about the definitions.   The sentences took another 20 minute session, and the quiz question was another 15 minutes (I had them do some think-pair-share on that as a prelude to actually writing the question and answers.) 

What do you do for root word study to get the kids thinking outside of the box?

1 comment

  1. Genius!!!! And so simple! I always think math when I think of those darn plastic eggs, and each year we use them for review. But I absolutely love this for our word study, and would even use it after Easter! Thank you for the freebie and phenomenal idea!


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