Greek and Latin Roots Review Strategy: Puzzlers

When teaching the Greek and Latin Roots Vocabulary and Spelling System, it is a good idea to have a variety of strategies to use to help your students make the meanings of their roots their own. After Roots for Early Dismissal, Puzzlers was one of my students’ favorite exercises.

To start, have your students get out:

  • the current list of roots
  • a sheet of paper
  • pens or pencils

Instruct them to pair up with partners.

Assign each set of partners one of the roots from the list and have them write the root and its meaning at the top of their paper.

Discuss how roots are “pieces” of words whose meanings influence the definition of the word.

Instruct them to create words of their own by combining their assigned root with other roots or  words then write a definition for this “new word” that is influenced by the root’s meaning. Emphasize the fact that you do not want your students to find real words that include the root, but rather to make up their own words using the root.

For example, from this week’s list they might come up with something like:

Zoodeli = a zoo animal gourmet feed store

Sauroskin = a skin condition in which a person’s skin becomes dry and scaly like a lizard

Require each set of partners to create at least three new “words.” (I offered extra credit points if they created more than five.)

After the students have created their words and definitions, tell them look over their list and circle the Puzzler word they like best.

Call on each pair of students to stand up and tell the class:

  • their root
  • its meaning
  • their Puzzler word
  • its definition

Through sharing their Puzzler words with each other, the students will have the opportunity to not only reinforce the meaning of their own particular root, but to make associations with the meaning of the other roots as classmates share their roots, Puzzlers, and definitions.

Have fun with this strategy.  And please share the wonderful words your students create as a comment here. I look forward to reading them!