Words Are Like Puzzles

We’re starting up our unit on The Origins of Words and this week, we worked on the idea of breaking down and rebuilding words based on their prefix, suffix and roots. The aim here is as much about where words come from as giving my students some strategies for deciphering unknown words. “Find the root,” is the mantra I have been giving them.

And then we had some fun, pulling together prefix, root and suffix parts to create words that sound sort of real but are not, and then using the definition of the “parts” to come up with a  definition of the word. We called this activity “Jigsaw Words” because I want them to envision the pieces like a puzzle of meaning.

I then went around with my little voice recorder and all students shared out a word they had created.

Take a Listen to our Jigsaw Words

Peace (in the parts),

  1. I love this post and I taught the same lesson earlier this year with my read aloud Frindle in which the students make up a new word for a pencil and also in word study with the amazing book called Cryptomania. Thanks for a great post on word!

  2. I’ve been teaching an intervention program called Rewards which doesn’t do much in terms of the meaning of prefixes/suffixes but tons about peeling back words to get to the root.

    In a word like reconstruction, students have already learned the prefixes “re” and “con” and the suffix “tion” so all they need to decode is struc. There are so many words like that and it gives students good word attack skills.

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