Learning how to count syllables and break down words can be a helpful tool for students who have a basic understanding of how to read sight words and shorter, more simple vocabulary, but who are ready to make the jump into reading and writing more complex words. Breaking down longer words like “extravagant” can be useful when taught in bunches. Ex-tra-va-gant can be taught in sync with words with the same suffix, like “brill-i-ant”, “im-por-tant”, and “dis-tant”. Setting these up on a page so that a student can join the first part of the word with its suffix helps to solidify the practice of breaking up words into more manageable parts.
Valentine’s Day Origins
Millions of people around the world celebrate Valentine’s Day on February 14th, but few know the origins of its significance. Valentine’s Day, in our part of the world, is largely celebrated as a romantic holiday shared with a significant other or a partner, as a time to commemorate love for each other, although there are many exceptions to this generality. Many know of Valentine Day’s relations to Pagan, Roman, and Christian traditions, but the origins of the holiday itself has a rather muddled story, even among 3rd century historians.
As there are many hypothesises as to where Valentine’s Day originated from, the most well-known among the general public is centred around Saint Valentine, who saw injustice in a law that prohibited soldiers from marrying their partners. Valentine thought that this law was unjust and spoke out against it, resulting in the projection of his actions as a romantic gesture of passion.
This is merely one of the stories that is known and rarely told, but many others are not verbalized—I suggest you to examine and question the origins of other holidays that you celebrate, and to think analytically about why it is that you celebrate them—perhaps as an additional homework assignment to stretch your investigative brain muscles!
History.com Staff. (2009). History of Valentine’s Day. A + E Networks.
Siepel, A. (2011). The Dark Origins of Valentine’s Day. NPR.
Brunner, B. (2004). Valentine’s Day History. InfoPlease.
Homophones < Tic Tac Toe
When my younger students have a hard time staying motivated with their Language Arts learning, I play Tic Tac Toe with them. When learning feels like playing games, students are more likely to stay engaged. For example, we recently read a book that taught us about homophones. Homophones are words that sound the same, but have different origins and meanings, such as root and route, tail and tale, and see and sea. I line a piece of paper with a tic tac toe board, fill in the squares with different homophone words, and ask the student to read each word, explain its meaning, and name its homophone and its respective meaning. We use different colours and alternate crossing out words, until one of us wins by creating a row or column. In addition, I slip this sheet into a plastic folder so I can re-use it again—repetition from the book reading, tic tac toe, and review help with comprehension!