Today I asked my students to brainstorm things they have learned this year while investigating words. When it was time to share, I was impressed with their honest responses and their sincere smiles. Just listen to the first boy as he shares his favorite word from the year … a word he will understand and appreciate all his life. His proud smile as he finishes sharing the word sum says it all. When he was done, someone mentioned that the base <phot> is probably <phote>. Yes, I thought. But did you see the confidence and pride as he mentioned the connecting vowel <o>?
Further into the video, a girl mentions that she was interested in the prefix <cide> which means kill. As she finished her comments, a wonderful conversation sprouted. Someone recognized that <cide> is really a base. Someone else asked about the word <suicide> and wondered if the prefix was <sui>. Then other words were thrown out like herbicide, pesticide and homocide. With each word, students offered definitions as the word related to ‘kill’. As word scientists, it is never a big deal to make a mistake. Mistakes are like springboards for fascinating discussions! They are an opportunity to clarify thinking. My classroom has become a safe place to question each other without seeming critical.
My favorite comment is the last one. I think it is beautifully put!