I may be in the minority here, but I actually really love teaching grammar! Even though the topics themselves aren’t always the most exciting (there are a select few people in this world who get legitimately pumped about prepositions or rules for commas), there are a ton of possibilities to MAKE it fun for kids.
Most recently, my students have been reviewing compound words. There is no shortage of ideas for teaching these (you can easily get lost down the Pinterest rabbit hole), but I have noticed that a lot of activities focus mainly on identifying or forming compound words. In this post, I’ll be sharing resources to help students identify their meaning based on the two individual words (per the Common Core standard for second grade):
Use knowledge of the meaning of individual words to predict the meaning of compound words (e.g., birdhouse, lighthouse, housefly; bookshelf, notebook, bookmark).
I have found that a very effective way to zero in on the meaning is to have students find connections in different compound words that share one of the same individual words (or base words). For example, taking a word like “ball” and having them analyze the differences in meaning between words in the same compound word family (basketball, baseball, ballroom, ballplayer, etc).
Since it can be a bit of a challenge to think of lots of examples of those types of word families off the top of your head, I compiled a bunch of word lists of compound words that share a common base word:
They are just simple word cards, but I been able to get a TON of use out of them. Here are just a few ways to utilize these cards:
They have been super useful when I just need to think of examples of compound words (for an anchor chart or pretty much any other lesson or activity on compound words). They’re a quick and easy reference!
Mix Pair Share
Give each student a word card. They stand up and walk around the room and have to try and group themselves up by what their words have in common (the base word). Once in groups, have them discuss what their words have in common and the different meanings of each of their words.
This is best done as a review when students have learned about compound words previously. Put students in partners or small groups and give them the cards (cut by individual word). Don’t tell them that the words are compound words or tell them how to sort them. They have to figure out what the words have in common and find a way that they can sort them into groups.
Use them as a word sort for literacy centers (students have to sort the words into groups by the same base word).
Sometimes for the word sorts, I’ll also include words that are NOT compound words so that students can practice identifying the difference and sort them into separate groups.
After completing any of the above activities, students can choose a word or words to use to complete one of these graphic organizers. In my own class, I pair them with the word card sort as a literacy center.
I also have my students do a simple craftivity that makes for a nice visual hanging up in the classroom. Going along with the compound word “sunshine” that is featured on the graphic organizers, they each make their own compound word sun.
I make copies of the template on yellow or orange Astrobrights paper. If you wanted to have students color the suns, they could also be copied on white paper.
I utilize the same word cards from the activities mentioned above, except this time I cut them into strips, leaving all the words with the same base word in the same strip.
I verbally give each student a base word and place the strip for that base word face down on their desk. For example, I’ll tell a student, “Your word is rain” and place the strip with all the compound words for rain face down on their desk.
Students write their base word on the line in the middle of the sun. On their own, they think of as many compound words as they can that have that base word in it. For example, “raincoat,” “rainbow,” etc. They write the other half of the base word on the rays of the sun (“coat” on one ray, “bow” on another, etc). If students have trouble thinking of compound words, that’s what the word strip is there for. They can just flip it over for help/ideas if they get stuck.
Then they cut out the sun, and…all done! Simple as that. You can display them on a spring or summer themed bulletin board, or if you have windows in your classroom, they make the room look bright and sunny when taped to the windows.
If you’re interested in doing any or all of these compound word activities with your class, the word cards (total time saver!), graphic organizers, and template for the compound word suns can be found in my Teachers Pay Teachers store, and also right here in the shop on my website:
Another great thing about having these displayed in my classroom is that when I see sunshine, I naturally think summer (and how it will be here soon)! Have you started your countdown to the end of the school year yet?