Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Word Parts: Searching for Morphology Clues

Yes, besides hunting for treasure, even pirates search for clues to determine the meaning of unknown words! For example, let's take a look at the title of my blog post, "Word Parts: Searching for Morphology Clues". Now, which word in the title will your wee pirates probably not know? I'm guessing it is "morphology"
The remaining words more than likely will be familiar to them and can be used for context clues.

For example, the first two words in the title inform us that word parts must have something to do with morphology, but what?Intermediate students, particularly 4th and 5th graders, will have some degree of knowledge regarding prefixes, suffixes, and roots. The words, searching and clues, should be relatively easy for our students to define. They will know that searching means looking for something and clues are pieces of information that help us solve a mystery or in this case a word's definition. At this point, students will realize that the word, morphology, has something to do with words. In fact, some may conclude that morphology specifically is related to word parts, but they still do not have a specific definition. So what do they do now? 

Perhaps some students will recognize -ology or -logy. They may have seen this suffix in these words, geology or biology. Science units in Intermediate grades often cover types of rocks, fossils, and layers of earth as well as categories of animals and their habitats. During class discussions and related readings, the words, geology and biology, may have come up, and perhaps their teachers or parents may have informed them that -ology/-logy is a suffix that means the study of a type of science or branch of knowledge. If so, now they know that morphology is a science or specific area of knowledge. They're getting closer to the meaning!

But what about morph-? Well, perhaps during the animal study, there was a unit about insects and the word, metamorphosis, was discussed, or perhaps some of the students have read books from the series, Animorphs -science fantasy stories in which human characters change into animals. Now students may conclude that morph- means change.

So where do we go from here? Does morphology mean the study of change? If so the change of what? Here is where we use our context clues. We know we are searching for information regarding words and word parts. Might we conclude that morphology in this context is the study of word formation, how words are formed and how words are changed? 

If we look up morphology in the dictionary, we will find that morphology is a branch of both biology and geology. In addition, we will find that it means the study or structure of anything! However, we will also discover that morphology is the study of word formation and the word-forming parts that change words.  

Hurrah! We did it! We discovered the meaning of morphology!  

Now let's look for some morphology teaching treasure. Here is my most recent resource, an interactive slide show to introduce word parts. These 47 slides define roots, prefixes, and suffixes. It encourages students to create words with these parts and write sentences using their created words. Once students understand the roles of roots and affixes, they define underlined words from well-known children's books.





I have also created resources for prefixes. This product, Prefix Hunt, has a variety of engaging activities that will help students learn the meanings of these prefixes and assist them in determining the meaning of words formed by these prefixes.

In addition, there are challenging resources for what I call Root Families. These are roots that are related by meaning or content such as "Audi/Dict".

For each root, students focus on four target words that share that particular root. These words are introduced in a brief narrative, and students are required to use context clues and root meanings to determine definitions for these target words. Once meanings are verified, students engage with these words by writing definitions, drawing pictures, completing sentence stems, and listing related words and phrases. 

More practice is provided with games. Additional word lists are included with “Word Parts Boxes”, a strategy for determining word meaning by identifying word parts (new addition to this resource). Word Wall cards with illustrations are included for review of the target words, their roots, and definitions throughout the year. Also provided are suggestions and activities such as "Mystery Word" on how to utilize the Word Wall cards.


Thanks for taking the time to dock your ship at my blog and visit with me. I hope you find my morphology teaching ideas and resources useful and beneficial for you and your students.

Wishing you a safe journey! 


Sunday, August 11, 2019

Back-to-School Novel Resources

Welcome, teacher mateys!  Some of you have already returned to your classrooms.  Some of you are counting down the days to the end of your summer vacation.  Either way, you have docked your ships to visit me, and I have teaching treasures for you!

Today's treasures are novel study resources. They are thorough in detail, contain engaging and challenging activities, and best of all they save you time, a very precious treasure!

This first CCSS resource can be used with most any children's chapter books for grades 3-5.  Nine graphic organizers to help
students organize their ideas and thoughts for story elements, theme, vocabulary, and summaries are included. Forty discussion/written response questions are provided covering story elements and a variety of fiction genre: realistic fiction, fantasy, historical fiction, mystery, and science fiction. All of these resources can be cut out and glued in journals. When you click on the product cover, you will be connected to my TpT store where you can preview the product. Below are a few samples from this product.

Also visit this previous blog post for more organizers from the Novel Study unit.  

While there you will find a Freebie on the story element, Setting.

Before I created the Novel Study Resources product, I had designed extensive vocabulary resources for the books, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Shiloh, and Stone Fox. These products included interactive PowerPoints to introduce the selected Tier 2 words for each chapter and multiple games for reviewing definitions.  In addition, there were engaging practice worksheets and assessments that challenged students to apply their knowledge of the words. Once the Novel Study unit was completed, I decided to combine it with each of the vocabulary units. I recommend you click on the product covers to link to my store and take a look at the previews for these resources. What a time saving treasure these are!


If you are interested in free samples from these resources, try these:

Thanks for visiting! Please sail back for more Teaching Treasures!



Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Free Holiday Treasures

When I was teaching, I always seemed to wait to the last minute to create or search for an appropriate activity related to an upcoming holiday. If you have the same issue, let me help you out. During the past few years, I have created resources for various holidays, mostly free ones, and have written about them on my blog. Often I was even late posting them! Apparently, pirates have an issue with time! And that is why I am writing this holiday resources blog in July so that readers will have the opportunity to read and decide about these activities now while on vacation instead of at the last minute!

If interested in a resource, click on the product cover to link to my TpT store.  Happy Holidays!

Labor Day

In this fun activity, students interview their parents about their jobs and careers and then present what they have learned to their class. Children and parents spend quality time talking about the details of what Mom and Dad do for a living, the required training and education, and the specific skills and tools they use while working.

Included in this product:
• Teaching Tips
• Labor Day Student Friendly Websites
• Book List of Picture Books about Labor Day 

   and Careers
• Interview Questions and Worksheet
• Oral Presentation Checklist
• Labor Day Sign to display with students’ art work

Veterans Day

Veterans Wall of Honor resource is designed for teaching students about the history of Veterans Day and to honor friends and family members who have served or currently serve in our country’s armed forces.

Your students will celebrate family members or friends who are veterans by creating a Veterans Wall of Honor. For each family/friend veteran, students will complete a Veteran Information Form that identifies the veteran, the branch of service, the veteran’s rank, years of service, and type of service.

These forms along with veteran photos, if available, and blue or gold stars are displayed on a wall in your classroom or hallway.  

Included in this product:
• Teaching Tips
• Veteran Information Form
• Parent Letter
• Veterans Day Book and Website Lists
• Veterans Day Circle Map and KWL Chart
• Veterans Day Cloze Activity
• Blue and Gold Stars/White Stars
• Veterans Wall of Honor Banner


After reading the picture book, THANKFUL, by Eileen Spinelli, or any picture book with a theme of appreciation and gratitude, students write a paragraph identifying people, things, and opportunities in their lives for which they are thankful.  Another writing activity is to compose couplets similar to the ones in Spinelli's book. 

Included in the resource are graphic organizers, paragraph sample, revision checklist, editing checklist, final copy sheets, and teaching tips.


Presidents Day

If you're looking for a fun activity that will encourage students' interest in Presidential history, read to your students the book, What Presidents Are Made Of, by Hanoch Piven who is known for collage illustrations. 

In this particular picture book, the author writes about 18 of our Presidents and reveals interesting and lesser known tidbits which give us insight into the character of these former Commanders-in-Chief. But what makes this book stand out are the collage portraits of these American leaders. Take a close look at the book cover.

In Lincoln's portrait, one eye is a button from the Civil Rights movement that says, "LET FREEDOM RING."  The other eye is represented by a canon to remind us of the Civil War. The most powerful of symbols, however, are the black chains that are breaking apart, representing the broken chains of slavery.

After sharing this book with your students, allow each to select a president to research.  Once students know more about their President, have them brainstorm and search for items that could be used to represent his personality.  When students have collected their collage pieces, they will create a portrait of their selected President. After completing their works of art, they can have a "museum walk" to share the Presidential portraits and information.  

Included in this product:
• Teaching Tips
• Presidential Fact Sheet printable
• President Book List for children
• President Biography Websites for students 
• Vocabulary and Idiom List
• Photo Sample of previous student collages
• “What Presidents Are Made Of” Book Cover Photo
• Hail to the Chief Sign to display with students’ art work

Thanks for docking at my blog!  Please sail back for more teaching treasures!

Friday, May 17, 2019

Fun Vocab Activities for "Miss Alaineous: A Vocbulary Disaster"


One of my favorite books for celebrating vocabulary is Miss Alaineous: A Vocabulary Disaster by Debra Frasier. 5th grader Sage is home sick with a bad cold so she calls her friend, Starr, for the weekly 15 word vocabulary  list. Although Starr calls out and spells the first 14 words to Sage, she is in a rush to get to baseball practice and shouts out the final word without spelling it.   Sage misinterprets the word which eventually leads to trouble and some embarrassment.  Can you guess the troubling word?

Click on image 
At the end of the story, the class celebrates a school year of vocabulary study when each student picks a word and designs a costume based on the word.  Students wear their costumes in the school Vocabulary Parade. Surprisingly to Sage, she won a trophy for The Most Original Use of a Word! Can you guess the word? 

I have put together a FREE resource with five vocabulary activities related to the book. Also included are teaching tips, student goals, a Vocabulary Four Boxes recording sheet, and a list of words beginning with the prefix, mis-.   Aligned with Common Core State Standards, this resource is ideal for intermediate grades. Read on, matey, as I share a few of these treasured activities with you. If you decide you would like this product, click on the image to the left. It will take you directly to the resource in my TpT store.

      Activity 3

In the book, Mrs. Page, Sage's teacher, offers her students an extra credit vocabulary assignment. They will write 26 sentences, one for each letter in the alphabet. Each sentence must contain three words that begin with the same letter. Starting with the letter A, students search the dictionary for words that are “different, unusual, or surprising”.  Sage's sentences are located along the edges of each page in Frasier's picture book.

Your students will investigate the words that Sage uses in each of her EXTRA CREDIT sentences. This can be a weekly Language Arts or Vocabulary Center assignment using one of Sage’s sentences per week. For each of the three words, students will complete the Vocabulary Four Boxes activity. In Box 1, students write the word and its definition. In Box 2, they draw a picture to illustrate the definition. In Box 3, they write their own sentence using the word, and in the final box, they identify synonyms, antonyms, and related words or phrases.     

If you are interested in more vocabulary resources, click on this image.              

Thanks for docking your ship to visit with me. Please sail back for more pirate teaching treasures, me heartie!



Thursday, April 11, 2019

Hunting for Prefixes Plus a FREEBIE!

Pirates are always on the lookout for treasure. Teachers are always on the lookout for teaching treasures. This teaching pirate does both; however, she also loves to create treasure for the classroom. Today I will share with you a few vocabulary treasures I have created for the word part, Prefixes. Before we explore the resources though, let's take a look at the importance of Word Parts.

Knowledge of Word Parts unlocks vocabulary treasure for the reader. Because a reader knows the meaning of a particular root, such as audi which means "sound", a reader will be aware of the word's fixed, or base, meaning. For example, when a reader comes across the word, inaudible, and doesn't know its full meaning but does know the root meaning, she realizes that the word has something to do with "sound". At this realization, she would probably reread the sentence to look for context clues that indicate something about "sound".

More than likely, this reader will be aware that the word, inaudible, begins with a prefix, in- meaning "not". Now she realizes that the word has something to do with "not sound" or "no sound".  Of course if she doesn't know the meaning of this prefix, she could consult a dictionary or ask someone for help.

Her next step is to examine the ending, or suffix, -ble. She might look this up in the dictionary. She might see a connection with the word, able, as well as the suffix, -able. Some words might pop up in her head such as valuable, capable, usable. As a result, she draws a conclusion that inaudible probably means "not capable of sound" or "not capable of being heard". 

Her final step will be rereading the sentence to see if the meaning she has come up with makes sense. In the sentence... The mute button had been turned on so the TV show's dialogue was inaudible... her definition of inaudible does make sense. Of course, if she is not aware of the meaning of mute or dialogue, she may not be confident of her conclusion. In that case, she reads on to see if there are other context clues or consults a dictionary or verifies with a friend or classmate.

Hopefully this scenario has demonstrated the importance of knowing Word Parts and also using context clues when attempting to determine the meaning of an unknown word. 


Below are some resources to help you teach Prefixes. This first product, Prefix Hunt, focuses on the "Not" Family of prefixes: un-, dis-, non-, in-, im-, il-, ir-. Included are two sets of target words using these prefixes. For each set there are three engaging activities, two matching games, an assessment, and a list of common prefixes. I've provided the Teaching Tips so you can get a feel for how to implement the unit.

Prefix Hunt-Part 2 is designed similarly to the above resource.

Prefix Search is a FREEBIE that provides the 20 most used prefixes along with a matching game. 

Click on these covers to review these products in my TpT store.

Thanks for coming ashore! Please leave your thoughts regarding my blog and resources.

Happy Sailing!