Working with Affixes: Digital Activities

Students will have a blast coding affixes in Scratch 3.0. They will investigate prefixes, root words and suffixes with this digital activity. To take it a step further you can use a MaKey-MaKey invention kit.

Last Friday my ITRT team spent the day working with 4th grade at one of my elementary schools. The teachers wanted us to focus on vocabulary, specifically affixes (prefixes, root words and suffixes). We find that affixes is a weak skill across the board in grades 3-5 so we were excited to come up with some "techie" activities that would make this challenging skill fun and exciting.

To kick off our hour session, we launched a NotebookCast board. I had just discovered this FREE online collaborative board and wanted to test it out since I had 7 other of my ITRT friends with me in case things didn't go according to plan. NotebookCast has the teacher create a free account. You create a virtual board that you share out with students via a link. Students click the link, enter a "nickname" and click submit. I LOVE how the tool automatically inputs the board code so the students don't have to type it in.

I had created THESE images in PowerPoint and saved them as jpegs to import into our board. Students saw the changes instantly/in real-time as I deleted and added new images to discuss. They used the chat feature to talk about possible definitions of the words I posted to the board. We broke the words down together as I called on students individually to "stoplight" our words. We circled the prefix in green (this starts our word), underlined the root words in yellow and boxed our suffixes in red (this ends our word). The PRS letters serve as a visual to remind students the ORDER of the parts of the words which happen to be in alphabetical order: Prefix, Root Word, Suffix.

Notebook cast practicing affixes

One of my coworkers gets such a kick out of me teaching my "PRS" trick because I always snap my fingers in the air to stand for the missing "Q". Really, he straight up likes to make fun of my animated ways so he created this animated gif of The Techie Teacher in action #workbully:

PqRS: ABC Order for the different affixes
ANYWAY...would I use Notebook Cast again? Well, that's great question. We ran into the issue of the site only accepting a certain amount of users. My guess is 10 users can be on at once. I had previously researched to see if this would happen and didn't run across this issue. Oh well, you live and learn. We ended up partnering the kids which went over fairly smoothly. Would have I liked all of the kids to have been on at once interacting? Of course. However, like all classroom teachers, we had to adapt. Notebook Cast might be a better tool to use with smaller groups.

After our warm up, we broke the students up into small groups to work on a mini digital project with of the ITRTs.

My group used Scratch and the MaKey-MaKey to code a word that had a prefix, root word and suffix. Check out the final product in action:

*I was playing around with the face blur edits that are now available in YouTube...it isn't perfect as you will see with the computer screen being blurred but you will get the point!*

Students used a pencil to break a word we printed out (each had a prefix and suffix) into three parts. They extended a line from each part of the word to the edge of the paper where they clipped the wires of the MaKey-MaKey. The graphite from the pencil is a conductor which made the MaKey-MaKey work!

In Scratch, they created their background to be a word we assigned them that had a prefix and suffix. They took a selfie to act as their sprite/character that moved to each part of the word when an arrow key was pressed: left arrow=prefix, down arrow=root word and right arrow=suffix.

Here is a Scratch example (click the green flag and then tap the arrow keys to make the selfie move and talk!)

 If you are interested in trying this out with your students, click {HERE} or the image below for the Scratch directions. You can still carry this out if you don't have access to MaKey-MaKeys. Just use the arrows on your computer :)

Students will have a blast coding affixes in Scratch 3.0. They will investigate prefixes, root words and suffixes with this digital activity. To take it a step further you can use a MaKey-MaKey invention kit.

Interested in buying a MaKey MaKey? Click the image below:

  Mrs. Green and Mrs. Robinson’s groups jumped on Nearpod and interacted together dissecting prefixes, suffixes and root words using THIS Nearpod activity.

Nearpod is an interactive tool that engages students, assesses their understanding and inspires success! When the teacher launches Nearpod as a live presentation the students are then given a code to “join” that Nearpod presentation. Students reviewed five prefixes and five suffixes. They created their own words using the drawing tool within Nearpod, watched short review clips online and even played two interactive games embedded into their lesson. Finally before finishing students were given words with both prefixes and suffixes and were asked to circle the prefix, underline the root word and box in the suffix. The student’s favorite part was how Mrs. Green and Mrs. Robinson were able to control their computers!

Mr. Covais’ group used Dell Webcam Central and Movie Maker to make some videos about prefixes and root words. Students chose a word and identified the prefix and root word. After the identification they worked with partners to discuss how they would act out the prefix and the root word. The students recorded their acting in Dell Webcam Central in two short clips. The partners then took the clips and put them into Movie Maker in the form of an addition problem. Best part of all, the teacher can now use these short videos for review in class.

Students had so much fun making these videos. Check out this awesome student example!
Acting out Prefixes from Jim Covais on Vimeo.
Want to do this activity?
Click the link below to get everything you need to get started! Prefix Movie Folder

 Mrs. Hues and Mr. Caratachea had a blast making raps with their groups! Different students approached the activity in a couple of different ways. Some students wrote a rap about prefixes and suffixes, while others just wrote a rap. No matter what the students chose to write their rap about they typed up their lyrics and highlighted all of the words using prefixes or suffixes. Once the students had their raps ready to go they went to an online drum machine to make their beats. We chose this particular drum machine because it is super easy to use. Students don’t need to have any prior knowledge on music production to quickly get the hang of using this tool. After the beats were made the students needed to record their track. They used Audacity to record the beat and then recorded their vocals on another track. Audacity is a great tool for simple multi or single track recording. The kids had some pretty serious rhymes going on! Check it out!
Example 1 Example 2

If your students are having a hard time with affixes then we encourage you to try out one of these activities!

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