Arkansas State Personnel Development Grant

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Lesson Seven


Essential Element: Vocabulary


Use word origins including common roots and word parts from Greek and Latin to analyze the meaning and determine pronunciation and derivations of complex words.

  • R.11.5.9

  • R.11.6.9

  • R.11.7.9

  • R.11.8.9



Vocabulary plays a critical role in people’s lives. Having a knowledge of the root words, prefixes, and suffixes will enable students to more easily determine the meaning of new words. (Ganske, 2000)



  • list of root words

  • dictionaries

  • large chart paper


Direct Explanation:

As a group, use your dictionaries to investigate the etymology of the assigned word. When you are clear as to the meaning of your word, your group will create a family tree. You will begin with your word at the top and build word families down and out from your original word in the style of a traditional family tree.”




Guided Practice:

Students will practice finding the etymologies of specific words prior to being given their assigned group word to create the family tree.




Students will gain knowledge of the meaning of unfamiliar words through the ability to use etymologies in the dictionary to assist them in decoding the meaning of word parts.



Tier II Additions/Accommodations:

  • Assign roles to students to ensure that all will participate

  • Provide a copy of an example of a word family tree


Assessment: Students will match words to the appropriate definition.


Tier III Modifications:

Provide dictionary page numbers for the assigned words

  • Provide a word list to assist in the development of the family tree


Assessment: Given a list of words from the word tree, students will be able to match the words and a brief definition of each word when provided with the root words and their definitions.



Tier IV Modifications:

  • Provide a notebook with root words

  • Limit the number of words expected on the family tree (simplify the family


  • Allow students to draw or use pictures/icons to represent written words

  • Peer buddies to help with organizing the tree


Assessment: Given a list of words (or pictures/icons) from the tree student will match root words to the family tree members from a predetermined number of families.









Tier V Modifications:

  • Provide a notebook with picture/icons of root words.

  • Paraprofessional, parent volunteer or teacher will assist student in making word families from root words

  • One family at a time will be taught


Assessment: Given a root word picture/icon, student will match two pictures/icons that belong to that family.





Ganske, Kathy (2000) Word Journeys, The Guilford Press


Copyright © 2006 Arkansas Department of Education. All rights reserved. School districts may reproduce these materials for in-school student use only. No resale. Materials may not be reproduced, distributed or sold for Commercial use or profit. ADE employees are not authorized to waive these restrictions.

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