1. The teacher gives basic information on how English
words have been formed by borrowing from many sources.
Examples should be given of words coming from classical
sources, with examples being given about how different
combinations of roots and affixes have been used to create
many words. Digital Hyperverbicopia
pdf provides an example. An excellent Internet resource
can be found at http://www.yourdictionary.com/library/ling008_a.html.
See also http://ancienthistory.about.com/library/weekly/aa052698.htm?once=true&
2. Each student in the class chooses or is assigned
one classical (Latin or Greek) root. Many sources are
available for listing of such roots and their basic meanings,
but it is highly recommended that the teacher use Webster’s
New Explorer Vocabulary Skill Builder (Federal Street
Press, Springfield, MA, 2000), also available in paperback
as Merriam Webster’s Vocabulary Builder by Mary
Wood Cornog (Merriam-Webster, Springfield, MA, 1994).
This well-organized volume presents over two hundred classical
roots, along with information on four English words derived
from each. (Note: perhaps 5 % of the entries are for prefixes,
which would better be used in a later affix assignment.)
A Root Assignment Sheet based on roots in this book is
included to be used in assigning specific roots to students.
Of course, many classical roots appear in more than four
English words. An excellent resource for other cognate
words is NTC’s Dictionary of Latin and Greek Origins
by Bob and Maxine Moore (NTC Publishing, Chicago, 1997).
Another good listing of classical roots and affixes can
be found at http://www.kent.k12.wa.us/KSD/MA/resources/greek_and_latin_roots/page_1.html
3. Each student is to consult with both old (dead tree)
and new (reference software and Internet resources) sources
to assemble the following information in relation to the
root and four cognate words provided: meaning(s) of root;
meaning(s) of each of four cognate words; quotations using
each of the four cognate word (preferably, depending on
sources available, one from old and one from new tech
sources); examples of use in sentences created by students;
identification of affixes, if any, giving meaning and
language of origin; pronunciation; ideas for visualization.
Students will use 4 copies of the Student worksheet.doc
for collecting the information. Numerous Internet dictionaries
for research are available, but http://www.onelook.com/
is recommended because it accesses more than 600 dictionaries.
Another very expansive site is http://poets.notredame.ac.jp/cgi-bin/wn.
4. After assembling the information, the student is
to come up with a plan for a PowerPoint presentation of
roughly 15 slides. Several, of course, should be on the
root itself, with the rest on the four cognate words.
Students should be reminded that words often have several
meanings and that all of the main ones should be presented.
It is suggested that a plan for the rough content of each
slide be made up before actually creating them. See PowerPoint
root-lev for a teacher-developed model presentation on
the Latin root “lev”. Students should be mindful
that their computer presentations should be designed to
teach other students the information that they have gathered.
PowerPoint offers opportunities for visual and aural communication,
as well as animation and other “bells and whistles”
to assist in creating interesting and compelling presentations.
See Student Examples.
5. Each presentation should be evaluated two-thirds
on the basis of research and content communicated and
one-third on the quality of the multimedia presentation.
See attached Evaluation Questions.
6. All students should be given a list of all the Digital
Hyperverbicopia roots, including the root, its meaning
and the four cognate words, to be presented by their classmates.
The audience is expected to take notes on the meaning
of the words. Testing on those will help assure close
attention to presentations and note taking.
7. Another assessment activity would be to ask students
to explain in their own words how words have developed
in English using Greek and Latin roots and affixes. They
should also demonstrate how developing knowledge of roots
and affixes helps their mastery of words new to them.
8. The ultimate proof of mastery of new words is when
a student uses them in their writing and speech correctly
and creatively. In assigned writing, student should highlight
such new usage as “neologistic impressions,”
for which the instructor will award bonus points.
9. “Digital Hyperverbicopia” assignments
should be made once a marking period in view of the many
roots and cognate words used in English. As the year progresses,
similar assignments should be made on affixes, especially
10. A very important part of this assignment is the
honing of student research skills in reference materials—in
books, software and on the Internet. The more dictionaries,
usage books and quotation collections available, the better.
Please consult the bibliography. It should be noted that
the quickest way to find a quotation using a word is from
a larger dictionary (Webster’s Third International,
the Oxford English Dictionary, both available in CD-ROM
editions) or Microsoft’s Encarta, but students should
be rewarded for searching other paper or electronic quotation
collections (for which, see http://www.online-pr.com/OnlinePRwordquotationcheckers.htm
The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations is also available
11. Assessment can include vocabulary and root tests
after students have seen each others’ PowerPoint
presentations. Teacher led discussions, augmented if possible
with American Heritage’s Talking Dictionary, used
on a large monitor, can help students develop the habit
of mind of recognizing roots and affixes as cues to helping
make educated guesses as to the meaning of words they
do not know.
12. One class period is needed to present the background
of the assignment and to get students going. Students
need approximately five class periods to do the research
and complete their project. Another two periods are needed
to view each others’ presentations.