Monday, October 01, 2007

Challenge Results and Roman Roots

The 25 comment challenge was a great experience. There are so many interesting people sharing all kinds of talents. It was made even clearer how smart these folks are when I made the commitment to leaving a comment. If you missed the fun yesterday, why not take the challenge now?

On the language front, we've started a new curriculum. English from the Roots Up presents the Latin and Greek origins of English words. I started exploring this idea for elementary and middle school instruction several years ago. Librarians have to decode specialized terms in science, technology, and even the social sciences quickly. S/he can't know everything, but must be able to find it. That means we learn loads of short-cuts.

When I started teaching elementary school I realized my students could use the same strategies to expand their small vocabularies. It was so much fun to hear a little third grader matter-of-factly point out a word's derivation from Greek/Latin. The adults in their lives didn't really know as much as they did, and it delighted them.

Later I began tutoring students in preparation for the SAT. These were usually kids who had performed poorly on the PSAT and were in need of remedial instruction. The commercial materials and systems out there are not very effective in teaching vocabulary. So, I went shopping for a way to teach what I'd learned through library work. The Lundquist work is about the best thing I've found. It's meant for use from elementary through SAT prep. The lessons can be made very simple, or extended to the point of building a basic Latin/Greek vocabulary. My kids love this stuff, and it's fun for me too.

Todays Word: feles -- Latin derivation of Feline....

5 comments:

BookGal said...

What a great idea. I taught an SAT prep class once as well and found that roots were the only way to go. I'd love to see it in my daughter's third and fourth grade classes.

PJ said...

That is really cool I think I will share this with a homeschooler friend I know

Lesley (El Zed) said...

I'm reading this post after reading your Booking through Thursday response.
Have you thought about telling your elementary schoolkids how many of the spells and incantations in the Harry Potter books are based on Latin? I bet that would make them sit up!

Cereal Girl said...

I've been a teacher-librarian too. I'm currently teaching grade 8 (gifted program) in Scarborough, Ontario, Canada. Any idea where I could get my hands on the vocabulary expanding materials you mention? Is it something I could do with my kids? Many have extremely high IQ's but either English as a second language or parents who speak English as a second language. A little vocab development would be great for them.

Cereal Girl said...

Thank you so much for your useful feedback on this. I think I'll see if the public library has the books first, just to get a feel for which are the best for my class.