Sunday, November 16, 2014

Teaching Greek and Latin Root Words with Photo Shoots

Slap the words "Greek and Latin Etymology" onto any teenager's class schedule, and you will witness a display of dread and terror like never seen before.

"Why would I ever need to speak Greek?"

"Nobody even uses Latin anymore!"

"I can barely speak English good!"

Many kids don't realize that the words they use every day rely heavily on root words from other languages.  They have no clue that much of their online communication and text messaging carries traces of ancient Greek and Latin words.  However, when students learn to identify these root words and their meanings, they not only better understand the origin of the words they use on a regular basis, but also learn to decode hundreds of English words that they may not otherwise understand.

Last year in my English Language Roots class, I decided to have some fun reviewing these roots with my sophomores.  Instead of merely reading definitions or flipping through flashcards, we actually made a Greek and Latin scrapbook!  For each root word, my students set up a mini photo shoot in which they depicted the root's meaning.  I let the students come up with their photo ideas entirely on their own, but I stressed the importance of explaining their picture and how it illustrated the Greek or Latin root.  This made learning the words fun -- and memorable.

At the end of the semester, I designed a scrapbook with the students' photos and sent it out for printing.  Each kid received a book that they could use to study their vocabulary.  This was one of my favorite projects of all time!

Here are a few of my students' root-word photos:

These students represent the root word mort with a crime scene in which a mortality has supposedly occured.

Here students represent the root word bene by acting out the benevolent practice of giving to the poor.

Students represent the root word astro by searching the heavens for the secrets of astronomy.

Do you have any root-word tricks that have worked in your classroom?  I would love to hear your ideas in the comment section below. If you would like to check out my Greek and Latin scrapbook  template, click on the product below!

Teach Greek and Latin roots with fun photo shoots your students will remember!


  1. Love this, Olivia! I nominated your blog for a Liebster Award! To accept the award (and pay it forward) click on this link:

  2. Thanks so much, Sherri! I am working on finding more blogs to nominate, and I will hopefully have my acceptance post together by the end of Christmas break. Thanks again for thinking of me! :)