Click HERE for a document I created out of a series of lessons at workshops in the Bay Area and Los Angeles. It started with a brilliant middle school teacher, Zac Carr at the Nueva School who wanted to use my visit as a way to help him and his students use etymological research in connection with the speeches his students were about to write on social justice issues. 

Together we composed a two short paragraph pointing out that in any study of social justice issues, we should be aware of the role the media plays in forming perceptions about different groups. I ended up using and adapting this lesson in a number of classes at different schools. I also got into an analysis of the word <advertisement>. 

I am sharing an introduction to the lesson, the actual page I created for the kids in the first lesson and some other pages the kids worked with -- but also a page that diagrams how I modelled of how to use and read Etymonline references. In some classes we never got into word sums or matrices at all. In other classes we did. For those teachers worried that getting started with SWI takes up too much time, I'm hoping this resource helps them see that a small lesson on a key word related to any subject area is actually leverage for learning -- not a burden. And there is no need to get into matrices and word sums for teachers to draw on the powerful underlying meanings -- often poetic and metaphorical -- of words to deepen understanding of your subject area. This lesson was about 40 minutes, but you could do a productive investigation on Etymonline for 5 minutes that would inform what you are studying too. 

For other examples of SWI investigations that could inform any subject area with or without word sums and matrices check out these earlier "SWI Investigation" posts:

  • Click HERE for a post inspired by words related to Martin Luther King Day.
  • Click HERE for a post on the math terms "combination" and "permutation" from a middle school class.
  • Click HERE for a post from a Grade three lesson studying Ancient Egypt that got intot the terms <dynasty>.  
  • Click HERE for a post from Skot Caldwell's upper elementary class years ago in a public school on the wrong side of the tracks that was studying the scientific term "condensation". This has always been a favourite of mine!
  • Click HERE  for a poweful investigation of the terms <grace> and <subjugation> that grew out of a high school English class. (Another personal favrourite!)
  • Click HERE for an investigation of the terms <journal> and <journey> that grew out of a Grade 1 investigation as they began working on their first personal journals!

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