Daily Archives: September 4, 2014

More Latin, More Questions, More Fun

Busy week! In a good way! The students are really learning and playing well together, and we are all busy collaborating on various projects throughout the day. We are reading Freak the Mighty together (one of my all time favorites by Rodman Philbrick), sharing our abilities to predict, infer, empathise with characters, etc. We are exploring our Base Ten number system, as well as learning to become flexible with numbers, strategies, and algorithms when adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing – AND at the same time recognising that math is not just about computation, but also about looking for patterns, making conjectures, asking questions, playing with numbers, and that it (math) can and does happen throughout the day, not simply when the teacher says it’s “math time.” More than half the class has met with either me, Carlo, or Mrs. Dowling to plan iTime projects, and I know a few students have already started exploring these topics at home. Several of our authors are “writing books” as they become familiar with our Book Creator app. Most students have improved their videographer skills, shooting several videos aimed to enhance camera techniques. Communication has been a topic of discussion for our “How we organize ourselves unit,” with an emphasis on how technology has impacted our ability to do so. And finally, as you may have noticed, word investigations and chats with orthographic experts are frequent occurrences in our classroom.

Yesterday we once again had the privilege of welcoming Old Grouch into the classroom to help us recognize Latin influences on English. He guided us through the two video resources you see below (again, that guidance is crucial, not stand-alone videos), and addressed the increasingly precise questions some of the students had. And it is the generation of questions – thoughtful, reasoned questions – that does not happen when spelling and words are presented as things to simply be remembered. Hearing “Every word has a story, every spelling has a reason” is much more motivating and generative than “Memorize these words and be ready for a test on Friday.” 

Some of the questions I’ve heard in the last couple of days:

Sean: “I know about compound words like <homework>, but are there any compound words with two bound bases?”

Lydia: “I see the prefix list…what about suffixes? Because I’m wondering if <-acle> in <receptacle> is the suffix, or if it’s <-ac> + <-le>. I know <ac> is a prefix in words like <accept>…so I’m wondering if it can also be a suffix.” (Lydia has made a matrix for the bound base <cept>…stay tuned for that brilliant representation of her current understanding.)

Thea: As we explored the twin bases <vid(e)/vis(e)> meaning “to see,” Thea was wondering about movies. “In the word <cinema>…why is there no <vid> or <vis> if it’s about seeing?” I simply said “Great question.” She went away and came back minutes later with, “I think <cinema> is Greek because I went onto Etymonline and found kinema is “movement” in Greek. And maybe that’s because the pictures in the movie move…” Ritvik then chimed in with an interesting hypothesis…“Maybe the <vie> in <movie> related to <vide/vise>? Oh…and if you take away the <i> in <movie> it becomes <move>.” Cool hypothesis! Find evidence! Prove it!

Ritvik: I’m wondering about bound base elements like <vide/vise> in words like <provide> and <provision>. I also wonder if <improvise> is related.” Ritvik is on fire at the moment. He already made a blog post about this investigation, and Old Grouch has already responded to it (technical difficulties at the moment…comment is actually in a separate post from Ritvik). In fact, the two of them had their own private Zoom session this morning. Ritvik was sitting in the pod, using my phone to confer with O.G. about assimilating forms (Example – Ritvik can explain why a word like <illogical> has <il-> as a prefix instead of <in->), like it was no big deal. Old friends already!

So many other questions and wonderings happening this week! My only regret, when groups are working independently as opposed to a whole-group investigation, is that I can’t capture all of these questions, all the discussions and debates, on video. I am certain that some of them are of the “I’m lost…what time is lunch?” variety, but I know that most of them include phrases like “I wonder…”, “I think…”, “My hypothesis is…”, and “I have proof.” How cool is that? That’s cognition! That’s science!

The kids were swarming around me at one point, proud of their discoveries and investigations, and because I’ve been recording so much of these sessions, I ran out of space on my phone…in the heat of the moment…right in the middle of the chase…I was devastated. I did record the thinking of Karl, Tova & Emma, Ritvik, and Nida before that happened, however. Tova and Emma actually convinced me that <sport> is related to <port> and the Latin portare – “to carry.” I had never thought of that! And I didn’t believe them. I was certain that there was no connection…before they pleaded their case and swayed my opinion. Again…how cool is that? I obviously didn’t plan for that to happen, but because of orthography, these two scientists gathered evidence, presented and supported their opinion, and changed my mind. They were then wondering if <s> is a prefix in <sport>. Prefix? Single letter base? I didn’t share with them at the time, but I think <sport> is simple, one morpheme, just one of the many modern English derivations of the Latin portare.

Trust me, more to come. This group is incredibly enthusiastic.

And now…for your viewing pleasure.

And more on how Latin words compound and the essential ‘vowel shift.’ Thanks Old Grouch for allowing us to share your helpful resources. I happen to know for a fact, based on recent conversations, that several of our new parents are studiously following along!