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What is a Morphology Wall?



A morphology wall is a teaching tool that is used to help students learn and understand the meaning of word parts, such as prefixes, suffixes, and roots. The wall typically consists of a chart or display that shows the various word parts and their meanings, along with examples of how they can be used to form new words. For example, a morphology wall might include the prefix "un-" (meaning "not" or "opposite of") and the root word "happy," along with the derived word "unhappy." Morphology walls can be useful for helping students develop their vocabulary and understanding of word meanings, as well as for improving their reading and spelling skills.


Here are some ideas for using a morphology wall to teach:

  1. Introduce the concept of word parts and their meanings. Explain to students that words are made up of smaller parts called prefixes, suffixes, and roots/bases, and that these parts can change the meaning of a word.

  2. Create a display or chart with the various word parts and their meanings. Use examples to show how the word parts can be combined to form new words.

  3. Use the morphology wall as a reference tool. Encourage students to use the wall to help them figure out the meanings of unfamiliar words.

  4. Incorporate the morphology wall into vocabulary lessons. Use the wall to teach students the meanings of new words, and have them use the wall to create new words by combining different word parts.

  5. Encourage students to use the morphology wall to improve their reading and spelling skills. Have them use the wall to figure out how to spell unfamiliar words, or to determine the meaning of words they come across while reading.

  6. Use the morphology wall as a way to introduce and practice the use of prefixes, suffixes, and roots in written work. Have students use the wall to create their own words or sentences using the different word parts.


Here is a sample 5-day lesson plan using a morphology wall:


Day 1: Introduction to Morphology

  • Begin the lesson by explaining what morphology is and its importance in language learning.

  • Write the word "joy" on the morphology wall and have students brainstorm and list as many words as they can that are related to the root/base word "joy." For example, joy, joyful, enjoy, joyfulness, and overjoyed.

  • Have students work in pairs to come up with a list of words that contain the root/base "joy."

  • Have each pair share their list with the class and add any new words to the morphology wall.

Day 2: Suffixes

  • Review the concept of suffixes and how they can change the meaning or function of a word.

  • Choose a few words from the morphology wall and have students come up with different suffixes that can be added to the root word. For example, for the root/base word "help," students may come up with the suffixes -s, -er, -ing, -ed.

  • Have students work in pairs to create a list of new words using the suffixes they brainstormed.

  • Have each pair share their list with the class and add any new words to the morphology wall.

Day 3: Prefixes

  • Review the concept of prefixes and how they can change the meaning or function of a word.

  • Choose a few words from the morphology wall and have students come up with different prefixes that can be added to the root word. For example, for the root word "pack," students may come up with the prefixes un-, dis-, mis-, over-.

  • Have students work in pairs to create a list of new words using the prefixes they brainstormed.

  • Have each pair share their list with the class and add any new words to the morphology wall.

Day 4: Root/Base Words

  • Review the concept of root words and how they are the base form of a word.

  • Have students work in small groups to brainstorm a list of words that contain the root/base "struct."

  • Have each group share their list with the class and add any new words to the morphology wall.

Day 5: Review and Extension Activities

  • Review the words on the morphology wall and have students identify which words are root/base words, prefixes, and suffixes.

  • Have students work in pairs to create a sentence using at least 3 words from the morphology wall.

  • Have each pair share their sentence with the class.

  • For extension activities, have students create their own morphology matrix using a different root/base word, or have them create a story using as many words from the morphology wall as possible.

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