Vocabulary ActivityInteractive Notebooks for Vocabulary Development

I’ve been teaching Greek and Latin roots for a long time. The 2015-16 school year was the first time I’ve done it with an interactive notebook. I started using this vocabulary activity back in August of 2015. Before that, as a mnemonic strategy, I always had students draw pictures to represent the root. That method worked pretty well but it had some drawbacks. Not all students’ drawing skills are the same. Some even have anxiety about being expected to draw. The INB solved that problem by making the creative expectation equitable. The artistic aspect of the interactive notebook helps students build lasting cognitive connections to Greek and Latin roots that they encounter in everyday language.

What other teachers have to say about this vocabulary activity:

My kids are going to be thrilled to use this resource! I really love how the Greek and Latin are simultaneously paired. Great resource and one of the most useful I’ve pulled from TpT.

Jennifer W.

I love this product, and what’s more important, my students love it too. They ask me everyday what the Greek word of the day is going to be.They work hard to make sure their INB page looks just like the picture, which is also very helpful for my EL’s. Thank you.

6th Grade Teacher

Update: There are now three versions of this vocabulary activity!

Since the release of my first Interactive Notebooks for Greek and Latin roots back in November of 2015, I have made two new versions. Read on for details! The downloadable resource includes all three versions.

Version 1

Version 1 of my Interactive Notebooks for Greek and Latin Roots is the most artistic and creative. Each foldable is a unique visual mnemonic. The foldable on the left page is a graphic organizer, into which students write words that contain the relevant root. On the right page, students write definitions and match vocabulary words to pictures.

Greek and Latin Roots Interactive Notebook
Greek and Latin Roots Graphic Organizers, Version 1

The ratio of creativity to content on this version of the INB is probably less than ideal. Each vocabulary activity takes about forty five minutes to complete, with about half of that time spent on cutting, coloring, folding, and gluing.  This INB could work great if you want to use art time to teach language.  


Version 2

In October 2016, I read Jennifer Gonzalez’s insightful article on the pitfalls of “Grecian Urn” projects. As a result, I decided to improve my INB’s craftiness-to-content ratio. First of all, I increased the breadth by adding more roots. Secondly, every graphic organizer is the same type sos tudents spend less time figuring out how to put it together and more time interacting with the lesson content. Coloring is optional, and every INB in this version is single-page. Furthermore, all the example words and definitions are editable, so you can customize them to match your curriculum.

Roots and Affixes Interactive Notebook
INB Version 2: Less cuttin’, more learnin’.

Version 3

The third version takes breadth to the max with over 630 roots on 80 graphic organizers. The roots are grouped thematically to add interest and aid memorization. For example, all the roots related to writing and drawing are grouped onto one graphic organizer. Similarly, there’s an INB for the all the roots related to geometry. To achieve depth, the INBs align to a set of worksheets that give students additional guided practice with about 240 of the more common roots.

Interactive Notebooks for Greek and Latin Roots
Version 3: Over 630 roots with three different ways students can put ’em in their notebooks.

This thematic approach allowed me to cast a wide net and introduce students to hundreds of roots.  The amount of material covered in each INB is maximized, while minimizing time spent cutting and coloring.  Furthermore, all the example words and definitions are editable, as are the graphic organizers themselves. The artwork prints clearly on white or colored paper.

Most noteworthy is the fact that this INB gives you three ways to deliver the content, so you can choose how much time and material to devote to the activity. As seen above, you can use traditional “flap” graphic organizers, margin strips, or notes-only.

Three Versions, One Assessment

All three versions of the INB vocabulary activity align with my Greek and Latin Roots Mnemonic Unit. That means you can use any of these INBs to introduce students to root words, then use the Mnemonic Unit for memorization and assessment.