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Teaching morphology

Scott Pitt shares practices from his school in relation to morphology
So morphemes came up in the vocabulary teaching. Obviously in key stage 1 we were using prefixes and suffixes to add to root words as a form of developing vocabulary, understanding and acquisition and re- reading the curriculum 2014, it became apparent that morphology and etymology of words, had quite prominent place which particularly linked well to vocabulary development.
Naturally as key stage 1 teacher, I would teach adding ED suffix for example, adding the un-prefix and then one day teaching, I think in in the day where triangle came up where Triceratops at another point came up and the word trygraph had arisen through conversation at various points throughout the day with children and I think because my own word curiosity had been spiked, had been triggered, I thought to myself perhaps we could explore with the children as a class, explore the meaning of words which contained a prefix that denoted quantity which obviously isn’t on Key stage 1 curriculum.
With the prefix and that denotes quantity, we focused on the tri, meaning three because that was an easy way for them to remember triangle and trigraph so following on from that, we developed a lesson, or I developed a less, which introduced them to the uni the by the try, and the quad prefixes. I supplied the children in groups with a variety of images containing objects, you know, which contained the prefix that denotes quantity. Originally the children group them. We talked about the names of the object. The children group them, often by transport, building, shape, for example or by colour.
Then I supplied the children with the printed word and they matched it to the picture, we read them as a class and they matched them to the picture. Nobody at that point had been curious enough to change their groupings so I supplied the children with the highlighter and I asked them as a group to look at each of the words and could they highlight any common letters, any prefixes or suffixes, any letters that are the same in each of the words which they did. It was only then that the children started to think about grouping them in another way.
The children weren’t quite verbalising the meaning of the prefixes so as a group, I asked them to discuss what they think each of the highlighted prefix means and one particular example and was the of the quadrangle and the University. They originally categorised them as group them as buildings and towards the end of the lesson they were able to think of quadrangle, well quad is four and the quad bike has four wheels and in the University is one place of learning at one building, so we put we move the learning on and by looking at the prefixes of each of the words and actually the children responded very positively to that lesson as the plenary to show that the learning had moved on.
I presented them with a picture of a Trident. Nobody was able to define the Trident, they said it looked like a fork, nobody could give me the actual word Trident, so I presented them with four alternatives like bident, unident, Trident and ask them based on their word consciousness that their understanding of the vocabulary could they find the name of the objects and actually knowing that tri meant three they could see from the picture, there were three prongs on the fork, they were able to deduce that the noun must be a Trident. By the end of the activity they were able to apply their knowledge to an unknown object and unknown situation to deduce sensibly what they thought the object was.
In this video, Scott shares how he developed the use of morphology to support vocabulary teaching in his Yr1 class (5-6yrs olds).
Take a look at our Grammar webpage for useful verb and noun charts to start your morpheme learning with!
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An Introduction to Teaching Vocabulary

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