Our class meets in our class meeting space-the rug in the back corner of our classroom. Today, on our easel of chart paper, I have a list of three parts of speech that the kids and I have studied over the year and know quite well: nouns, verbs, and adjectives. As students settle down onto the rug, I remind the students that we’ve learned about these parts of speech all throughout the year, and so let’s play a quick game! I tell the students that when I point to the part of speech, I want them to turn to a neighbor and whisper to each other what that part of speech’s job is in our language, or in other words, what does that word do! I ask if they’re ready, and of course, everyone says, “Yes!” So we begin! As I point to each part of speech, the kids turn to each other and whisper, and then after a minute or so, I say, “Okay, what’s a (the part of speech I’m point at inserted here) do?” We go through each part identifying that a noun identifies a person, place or thing; a verb explains the action someone or something is taking; and an adjective acts as a describing word!
Next, I write a few words onto the chart paper. I write the words:
After I write the words, I tell the kids that I’m going to point to each word and I want them to tell me what part of speech its: a noun, a verb, or an adjective. The kids jump in right away by identifying each word.
Then I tell the kids I’m going to change the words just a bit now. I add a suffix to the end of each word, so now I have the words:
After I changed the words by adding the suffixes, I tell the kids again I’d like them to tell me what part of speech it is: a noun, a verb, or an adjective. This takes a little more thought, and in some words, I have to use it in a sentence (ie: “This book was big and I wasn’t sure it was going to be readable, but it was!”) With my support, the students identify that the words have changed to a different part of speech.
Now I ask the students, “Why did the words change to a different part of speech? What happened?” One student raises their hand and tells me that the words changed the part of speech because I changed them by putting more letters on the end of the words! I congratulate that students on their nice noticing and say that’s just it-I changed the words by putting more letters at the end of the word! When I did that, I added a suffix! And, this suffix, believe it or not, has been around a LONG time, so long in fact that it came from an “ancient” language, or language that was used years and years ago, but is often not used so much anymore today. This language is called Latin, and even though many people don’t speak Latin today, we still use parts of it quite often! Using parts of that language, such as being able to add suffixes to words we use, allows us to create new words, or change how we use words all time!
I flip to the next chart paper I’ve created called “Latin Suffixes”. Here I’ve listed some of the most popular Latin suffixes. I ask the students if they’ve ever noticed these suffixes, or endings, added to words in books that they’ve read. Many kids right away agree that yes, they’ve seen these in their books! I explain that this week, we’re going to work with these Latin suffixes and find out what happens when we use them. Some of them even have very special meanings and when they’re added to words, it changes the meaning of the words more also!
In order to study these Latin suffixes this week, we’re going to create a mini “Latin Suffix Book” that we can keep all our notes in all week! The students head back to their seats so we can get started on creating our books! (See the Resources section here for directions on how to create your own mini-book!)
To close today, I tell the students that tomorrow, we’ll start to look at each one of these suffixes and go through their meaning and what they do when they’re added to words! For now though, we tuck our newly created mini books into our blue writing folders to save our work for tomorrow!