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Greek/Latin Roots - Vocab development/ Spelling

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Greek/Latin Roots - Vocab development/ Spelling
Old 06-10-2015, 07:21 AM
 
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I came up with a wild hair and need some direction in figuring out if I'm thinking outside the box or just being absolutely insane.

I teach 6th grade departmentalized reading. I start the year in a literature book that has some fantastic work and then move into novels.

I am a firm advocate of developing Greek and Latin roots with my kids, and have done it kind of ad hoc over the years in reading. The science department, though, does do their part and roots are an integral part of their curriculum.

When we went to a departmentalized situation, I found I really missed working with roots and that my reading vocabulary and spelling had roots that the science roots didn't expose them too. I integrate roots within my reading, but informally.

So... my dilemma. I'm thinking of dumping my spocabulary (it's a combination of spelling and vocab) and immersing the kids in roots.

One part of me is thinking "if they can spell Gr/Lat roots, they can spell anything, if they know the meanings of those Gr/Lat roots, they can figure out meanings" (kind of an Akeelah and the Bee philosophy).

The other part of me is thinking, "Leave the weekly spelling/vocab tradition? What about the phonics end of things? At 6th grade, do I need to put a heavy focus on phonics anyway? What AM I thinking???!"

Not sure I'd have enough time to do both spelling and roots study within my schedule.

I am completely insane?? Any pearls of wisdom would be greatly appreciated!!


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Go for it!
Old 06-10-2015, 05:52 PM
 
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Check out the roots/suffixes/prefixes in your standards and make sure you cover those well. We dumped spelling at our middle school years ago when I was teaching 8th grade. At first I was NOT happy, but the 8th grade team made sure that word parts were covered throughout the core subjects. ELA had a comprehensive program using a reproducible I found online. We focused on several word parts each week and tried to include them in our reading also. Then I got moved to 7th grade. A disaster. One word part a week. Stupid assignments for that one word part. So glad I only had to do that for one year before being moved to teach American History. I'm old fashioned and I missed teaching spelling. Kids cannot spell today. But, if you give them a strong background of root words, they will have better vocabularies and hopefully better spelling skills.
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Old 06-10-2015, 11:46 PM
 
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Have you seen the REWARDS program? REWARDS stands for Reading Excellence: Word Attack & Rate Development Strategies. They have an intermediate version for 4th-6th or a secondary version for 6+. I used the intermediate version toward the end of the year with my struggling 4th and 5th graders. They made great gains in their reading of multisyllabic words and spelling of them. Prior to starting the program I gave everyone the Words Their Way Elementary Spelling Inventory. I did a post assessment afterwards. The program itself doesn't exactly have a spelling test set up. However, there are 25 lessons and at the end of the lesson there are 4 words they spell from the lesson. I think you could pull additional words focusing on the same concepts taught if you wanted to give a weekly spelling test. You might also throw in some words that aren't in the program like commonly misspelled ones to have a more rounded approach. The reason I suggest this is that it teaches word parts (prefix, suffix, word parts, some word meanings, etc.) as well as working with more advanced phonics concepts. The program is fairly reasonably priced. You could always get both programs if the intermediate is too easy for your students.

Another program I was reading about recently (I can pm you the blog if you want it) was chunk spelling. The woman whose blog I read did not make a list for 6th grade but she does have lists for 1st-3rd. I think the ideas she uses could easily be incorporated into a workable 6th grade solution. I love the idea of teaching students to work with word parts. In this way they can learn meanings as well as patterns in words. This knowledge will make it much easier for them to spell new words as well as read new words.
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We Do None of This
Old 06-11-2015, 02:46 PM
 
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We also dumped spelling years and years ago. Our students' writing is truly abhorrent overall. We have a type of philosophy where "mistakes aren't bad"...Okay, I get that but they never really learn or care to correct their work. I try to work in some homophone work but we don't do much.

We have never done a thing with Greek and Latin prefixes or suffixes. I want to look into the REWARDS program because this is a gap in our curriculum which sorely needs updated/changed/axed.

I don't think you are insane at all. I really think you hit on something brilliant. I learned the Gr/Lat roots and all and that has helped me so much. Our science curriculum never hits on any of this. Keep it up, I think you may be onto something here. I want to look into it more.
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Micheal Clay Thompson
Old 06-13-2015, 08:49 AM
 
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Check out work by Michael Clay Thompson. In middle school we have used Caesar's English which works with Greek and Latin roots and stems. The kids are improving...


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Many Thanks
Old 06-13-2015, 07:29 PM
 
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Wow! Lots to look at and ponder! Thanks for the food for thought - I've got quite a bit of online research to do with the resources shared.

I've pretty much decided to ditch spelling (with the blessing of my principal), so now I need to figure out how to do it!

Keep the comments and thoughts coming! I've appreciated the dialogue!
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Roots and spelling
Old 06-16-2015, 06:23 AM
 
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Going back to 6th and struggling also with whether to include spelling or not. Don't have an official plan for teaching roots but I want to. Will check out the links and would love to see copies of pacing guides or yearly plans to teach roots.
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