Lesson: Making Words

Author: Marc Sheehan

Subjects: Reading, writing

Instructional Level: 1-6

Skills: Word identification

Time: 15-25 minutes

Materials: Whiteboard or chalkboard, lined paper, writing utensils

Objectives: Students will identify and list words from a collection of letters or a longer word.

Introduction: This is an activity I picked up and used at Lake Dolloff Elementary. (This is not an original idea; I wish I could remember exactly who I learned it from. Whoever it was, thank you.) A collection of letters or a long word is written on the board. The students are asked to put some of the given letters together to make words. Words of 9-14 letters can provide many different letters to choose from.

Procedure: Students are given time to look at the letters and identify words that can be made using those letters. For example, the word "assignment" can produce "men," "sign," "as," "am," "sent," "sing," and "man." The letters "t, l, o, p, r, s, e, a" can be put together to form "lot," "pot," "rot," "sat," "rat," and "set," for example. The words are recorded on the board by the teacher, while the students record them on paper. It is helpful to state beforehand some rules: no adding letters to make words, no using letters more than once in a word unless there are enough examples of that letter available (i.e. no using "e" twice unless you have two of that letter), and no words that are unacceptable in school are to be used. During the word identification process, you can point out such things as word families ("lot, pot, rot," for example), words that rhyme, words that use the same base word ("help, helps, helped"), and words that use the same prefix or suffix.

Closure/Modifications: Once you reach a target number of words, the time has run out, or you are just plain stumped, you can end the activity. The students will likely want to count how many words they were able to identify. Word lists can be collected to check on how many words the students listed. Modifications include focusing on words with certain sounds or letters, word families, vocabulary words, allowing a scribe to record words, using letter tiles, letter magnets, or letters written/typed on paper for physical manipulation.

Assessment: You can check for a number of things: Are the words grammatically correct? Are they spelled correctly? Did the students list the required number of words? Are the words acceptable for a school setting?

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