This a short and sweet foundations lesson on acronyms. There are many times I find myself with only a small section of time to teach a lesson. I want to get something in that is meaningful, but is still quick and easy.
To open this lesson I have found that it is the best thing to differentiate between acronym and abbreviation. I begin by putting up a few abbreviations, like Mrs. and Dr. I ask them what it means to abbreviate and almost all of them have a good grasp on this concept. Next, I tell them that I am going to tell them something really crazy about the English language. I warn them that they might not be mature enough to handle it, but they can be sure that they will have to know this stuff as teenagers. They love this, they love thinking of themselves as older and ready for more grown up things.
I explain to them that many of our English words come from other languages. That English is hard because it is made up and influenced by so many other languages and cultures. We talk about Latin being one of the most influential and I explain that if any of them want to be doctors or nurses they will have to know many Latin terms and words. They were surprised to know that my son in high school has Latin word part homework every week. This is so he can learn more words and read harder text.
To keep their attention I write two latin words on the board that they are already familiar with, ante and post. We talk about ante being before and post meaning after. I give them some examples like post operation.
The next step is creating a working list of antonyms that we use all the time and might not know what they really mean. I chose: PM, AM, RSVP, CD, DVD, WWW, and a few others. I would write the antonym on the board and they would copy just like in high school. I would then ask them to not define the word but determine first where we use it. Sometimes knowing where we use the word or acronym can help is determine its meaning.
Next we play a quick game. I divide the class down the middle and ask them to work together. It also might be easier to do this in pairs. They need to use their notes.
To play, I will give them an antonym and they will have to create a definition for it using the words they put in their notes describing where it is used. Then the next team will have to use that antonym in a sentence. We do this and go back and forth until we have defined all of our antonyms and have created woking sentences for them.