Sunday, 8 September 2013

Investigating verbs to understand the suffix (-ed) and more... the previous post I discussed some ways to utilise literature, such as big books, to explicitly guide a structured word inquiry.

This particular big book, This is the Bear and the Scary Night, uses a wide range of expressive verbs, highlighting the (-ed) suffix to indicate the past tense.
What an excellent way to guide a structured word inquiry into: 
-->the function of the suffix (-ed);
-->the phonemes that represent the suffix (-ed);
-->the suffixing pattern for the final, single,  silent (e);
glow + ed --> glowed
Why doesn't the final <w>
--> an investigation into some significant vowel phonemes to represent the long /o/ phoneme.
float + ed --> floated
Why are there no changes
to the base?
hope/ + ed --> hop(e)ed
Why is the final, single, silent (e)
swoop + ed --> swooped
How does the etymology of
this word help us understand the
grapheme (oo)?
Use authentic writing experiences to model essential concepts and understandings.
The students identified the verbs in this written piece and the teacher modelled
the word sums, to explicitly demonstrate some suffixing changes.
The students conducted a collaborative investigation about these suffixing changes.
An investigation into the function of the suffix (-ed)
After the first introductory readings, to establish meaning, enjoyment and understanding of the text, a word detective activity, conducted by the students, would be a meaningful start to an investigation of the(-ed) suffix.

By collecting words, from a range of literature, the students begin to build a chart classifying the words under the following headings, as indicated in the chart below, OR through a concept attainment strategy, in which the headings are revealed after the collected words have been sorted onto the chart by the teacher.
The students are required to establish theories about why the words have been placed in one of the three columns.
Adding the suffix (-ed)
No change
A change is made

Final, single silent   (e)


An investigation into the three phonemes 
that represent the suffix (-ed)

As in the previous activity, the students can also conduct an investigation of the three different pronunciations for the suffix (-ed), in a similar way. The students can add to the chart as they encounter words with the (-ed) suffix or participate in a concept attainment activity. 

The suffix (-ed)



It is crucial that young children, early on, are exposed to this learning, to frequently encounter the different pronunciations. 
This activity clearly demonstrates the essential understanding that although pronunciation may change the spelling will be constant.

Investigating the suffixing pattern for the final, single, silent (e)
Building a collaborative flow chart to represent the suffixing
pattern for the final, single, silent (e)
To start the learning journey...Identify an investigative question based on the words your class have previously identified: 
How can we discover why the final, single, silent (e) is removed in (hoped) and (smiled)? 

Generally I write the question on a shared space in the classroom (whiteboard, large chart for weekly word inquiry questions, classroom door). Depending on age and development, the teacher can record the theories and ideas for the children or the children can record independently, ready for discussion and further investigation.  
Students recording their ideas
and theories on a class shared
writing space.
After a few days, the children have an opportunity to share their ideas with each other, through collaborative group activities; in pairs, small groups and with the whole class. In this way all students have an opportunity to 'voice' their opinions and ideas. At this stage, just like in a scientific investigation, we listen, question and accept all ideas.

NB it is interesting to observe, over the space of a school year, how the children's theories became much more coherent and precise. continue the learning journey...identify the underlying structure. The children are given a word, on a small card. Some of the words will have the final, single, silent (e) and others will not.
played  jumped  smiled  hoped 
The first task, is to fully understand the meaning of the word by playing the 'trading game'. This game is an activity that supports differentiation and ensures that all the children know and understand the words, to be used for the investigation. 
The children are thinking about the meaning of their word
before sharing and trading it with a classmate.
At the end of the game the children locate their original word.

The children are now ready to identify the base and formulate the morphological word sum. To be successful, the children need prior knowledge and understanding of how to write and announce the word sum. The children work out the word sum, share and prove it with a partner and make any necessary changes.
played                               smiled
p-l-ay + ed --> played     s-m-i-l-e/ + ed --> smiled
The words (with the word sum) are then placed on a chart for class discussion and articulation of the suffixing pattern.
...a reflection of reinforce and consolidate new learning, build a large, group flow chart.
First, discuss the parts (actions, questions, arrows) of the flowchart and read each action and question.
I frequently ask the children to predict the question/s in the flowchart based on their prior knowledge and learning.The children are highly motivated to work together to create the flowchart. This is a significant flowchart to start with as it is relatively easy to piece together.

Working collaboratively to build the flowchart
Once the flowchart has been organised it needs to be tested to ensure it flows in the right direction.

Physically stepping or moving through the flowchart
helps to internalise the spelling pattern.
The children are then able to create their own individual flowcharts for independent work.
Recreating the flowchart
on small whiteboards
Initially have the children work on whiteboards so they have the opportunity to reconfigure the flowchart if they need to make any changes. I always have the students test out the flowchart before they transfer permanently it to their workbooks.

To support internalisation of the suffixing pattern the children can take home a 'flowchart package' and build it with their families.
Transferring the flowchart into
individual workbooks for reflection
and practice.
NB I have worked through this process with children ranging from grade 1 to grade 8. The activities and strategies are adapted according to age and learning needs.

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