Today my students sounded confident, knowledgeable, and patient. You see, we were invited to teach a class of 2nd graders about suffixes. No one shied away from this challenge. The students were excited to share what they knew and to teach valuable information to these younger students.
We talked last week and decided what it would be important to say. We decided to begin by defining a suffix. The students described it as a morpheme that is fixed to the end of the base or stem of a word. Eric, one of my students, saw that the second grade teacher had written the word <boxes> on the board. He took his partner up there and with his hand covered the <es> suffix so the second grader could read the word <box>. Then he moved his hand so it now covered the base <box>, and his partner could see just the <es> suffix. His partner immediately smiled and said, ” Oh! I see!”
They each began with the word <play>. The fifth grader demonstrated for the second grader how to write out and read a word sum. As I walked around I was pleased with what I was hearing. The fifth graders were teaching the second graders to read the suffixes they were using as units rather than individual letters.
After creating a matrix and writing out word sums for the base <play>, everyone practiced further with the base <help>. I specifically chose two free bases that ended with a consonant. I wanted the second graders to get used to the practice of writing out (and reading aloud as they write) word sums.
The third word they looked at was <love>. My students were going to have to teach their partners about dropping the single silent e when adding vowel suffixes. It was interesting to hear the words my students were using to explain these things. It was a great way to assess whether or not my students really understand suffixes, word sums, and “checking the joins” before writing a word with the affix.
There are two more second grade rooms to visit. There is some tweaking I would like to do with my students to improve the lesson overall. Mostly, though, I am extremely proud of my students. Their enthusiasm is evident in their voices. Here’s a little bit of what I heard today.