At the beginning of each Greek and Latin Roots unit, administer a pretest for that unit.
I generally just had the students get out a piece of notebook paper on which to write, however, if you wish to prepare a pretest sheet, leave blanks after the numbers where spelling words will go and provide the roots with a blank space after each where their definitions should go.
Administer the pre-test. As with any spelling test, speak each spelling word as you come to it, and use it in a sentence. Then speak each root, instructing the students to write its meaning. (I also wrote the root on the board because I did not provide pretest forms.) Encourage your students to guess the meaning of the root if they don’t know it. I often found my students knew more than they thought they did—which always came as a pleasant surprise to them.
When done, discuss the roots and words and instruct the students to self-correct and take notes. (Write any material you want the students to make note of on the board as you conduct the discussion.) Also discuss the definitions of the spelling words.
As you discuss each root, provide its definition then brainstorm with the students other words that might use that same root and their definitions, listing them on the board.
Collect the pretests. Check for the accuracy of self-corrections. I usually gave each student three points for the pretest plus notes, two points only if all they did was the pretest.
Sort the pretests.
- For students who got 100% on the spelling of the words, attach a challenge list.
- For students who misspelled more than 60% of the words, attach a simplified list.
- For the remainder, attach a standard list.
Return pretests and lists to the students the next day.
Over the nearly two weeks between introduction of the unit and the test, I provided two in-class opportunities to work with the roots and the spelling of the words, and required all students, except the challenge list students, to do a roots/spelling practice option (from a list I provided) each week for homework.