“How to engage students in the understanding and use of suffixes?” was the pressing question on my (Cathy’s) student teacher’s mind. Erica told me she mulled this over for several days, trying to get the pieces to fit together just right. Her final creation – a suffix game. The wonderfully large, colourful game board alone was enough to grab her grade five students’ attention. Played in teams, each group had to role a gigantic die to move their magnetic counter on the board. Some spaces on the game board depicted words (e.g. effort, bonus, time) which each team had to add either the suffix ‘less’ or ‘full’ to, and then write each word correctly in a sentence. Small white boards were provided to each team for this task. Other spaces on the board instructed the teams to create a tableaux depicting the new meaning of the word once the correct suffix was added. A few spaces on the board provided bonus points.
I have always had a concern about student teachers being focused on ‘fun’ over learning and wondered about the level of learning these students would experience with this game. This concern, however, was mollified when I witnessed the mistakes the teams were making which forced them to rethink their answers. The animated group discussions regarding which was correct were very interesting to observe. When the nutrition bell rang and the grammar lesson came to an end, there were groans and moans of protest. Imagine, grade fives liking grammar. Erica wisely told them they could play again soon.