February Compound Words, Inquiry Lesson and a FREEBIE

February is the perfect month to incorporate compound words with your lessons.  "Groundhog" and "mailbox" are two seasonal words that students will see in February lessons.  
Do you incorporate inquiry activities with your lesson plans? If you have some stuffed animals like the ones in the picture, you could use them for an inquiry lesson. This is an activity for students with prior knowledge of compound words.

Set the stuffed animals on a small table where you will teach the lesson later in the day. Stuffed animals are a kid magnet. Great tool for building interest and getting your students' interest. Your students will notice the stuffed animals as soon as they walk in the classroom. Tell your class that they can look but not touch your "little friends".

If you save this lesson until the afternoon, your students will begin the inquiry process on their own. At recess and lunch, you may overhear your students trying to figure out how something that they play with could be used by a teacher for a lesson. What are they studying (skills) that is like the animals? How are the animals alike?

Ask you students to jot down their ideas about how the animals are alike in their journals or a white board when you begin the lesson. Next, put your class in small groups and let them discuss their thoughts with each other.
Let one person from each group share the findings of the group. Then write the names of the stuffed animals on your white board or a chart tablet. Tell them to LOOK at the words to see if the WORDS have something in common. Discuss with their group. Let one person from each group share the findings of the group again.

"Hummingbird" was not one of the first few words that I wrote on the list. Some of my classes in the past have confused a 2 syllable word with a compound word. With a lesson like this, some students will begin to count syllables when they see the list and assume syllables is how the words are alike. That works until they get to the word "hummingbird". Going through this process solves the syllable-compound word problem.

After the lesson, you can continue using the stuffed animals:
  • Team mascots
  • Classroom management tool: pass out a stuffed animal who is working quietly, turned in high quality work, listening attentively during lessons, or any other behavior you want to reward.
  • Tell your students that they will pretend to become one of the stuffed animal. Then your students will:
    • Name the animal character - i.e. Bessie Bluebird, Gideon Groundhog, Buddy Bumblebee,Huxley Hummingbird, Sachi Seahorse, and Liona Ladybug
    • Write pen pal letters to the animal characters
If you don't have stuffed animals or have the time to gather them, you can do the same type of lesson with books. The following books have a compound word in the title:
You can click on the (affiliate) link for more information
Give your students extra practice with compound words.  Students can either look for compound words in books (like the books above) or you can give students a topic and see how many compound words they can make about the topic.  The picture above are compound words about Valentine's Day.

If you want to make the making words more hands on and engaging for your students, cut the cover of a folder in 3 parts.  To do this flip folder activity:

  1. Students lift the first flap and write the first word of the compound word.  
  2. Close the first flap.
  3. Lift the second flap and write the second word of the compound word.
  4. Close the second flap.
  5. Lift the third flap and write the compound word.
  6. Close the third flap.
  7. Go to the next line and continue making compound words.
  8. Write a sentence using at least one of the compound above.
Let's Make Compound Words can be found here.
Do your students need more practice?  Let's Edit: Compound Words is an activity that students practice identifying compound words, grammar and writing skills.  This is perfect for morning work or homework.  You can get a free copy of a Valentine themed page in the preview file here.

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