Real Spellers

English Makes Sense!

When we started distance learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I knew that I wanted to continue working on SWI with my students, but this also presented some challenges, such as:

-We were asked to provide lessons that students could access on their own time-schedule, meaning I wouldn't be there to lead the investigation through student questions. 

-I was providing lessons for my class, as well as other Grade 2 classes who had a very different level of exposure to SWI. I needed to create something that would support all of these learners, and their parents, who also might not know about SWI.

Here is the first lesson that I created, which is much more "instructional" than "investigative", but these are strange times that we are living in so it had to be different than my usual style of teaching. I decided to follow the format of the 4 questions to lead the learner through a word investigation process. My original document included some voice-overs specific to our learners, which I have left out of this version as I thought it might make it easier for others to use this with their own spin. I hope that others can find this useful. Please feel free to make a copy for your own use.

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I must admit that in this case, I did not even try to further analyze <magnet> as I had to recognize that word study is foreign to most of the families who were accessing this lesson and I did not want to overwhelm during an already overwhelming situation.

But, looking a little deeper now, I see that it is related to <magnesia>.

<magnificent> would also be a very interesting study. I came across <magnify> and <magnanimous>, which share that same sense of "great"

Amber Cahill
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Great stuff Amber!

Looking forward to pointing people to this set of words and support for investigating them.

Your analysis provoked me to wonder if perhaps <magnet> is not a base, but complex. I'm wondering about the possible analysis <magn + et>. You may well have thought of that and chose not to fully analyze the word for this purpose -- which might be my choice too! And yet I have not actually confirmed that there is a base <magn>. I did wonder if the word <magnificent> might be related. I was wondering about some kind of metaphorical sense of something so wonderful you are "attracted to it". But my search in Etymonline showed me I needed to reject that hypothesis. It goes back to another root magnus for "great". Following that trail I found the word "magnate" like a "real estate magnate" that has always seemed odd to me. No I know why, I was probably thinking of a relationship to "magnet" which didn't make sense to me -- because it doesn't make sense!

I wonder if someone else wants to pick up the baton and see if we can find evidence for whether <magnet> is best understood as a base or complex? What does the evidence tell us?

Peter Bowers
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