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Student Vocabulary Activity

A woman irons a piece of grass in a field, as women dance behind her.
Genevieve VenJohnson, Morgan Lavenstein, Alex Goodrich, and Lizzie Bourne by Michael Brosilow.

This vocabulary activity will help students develop an understanding of the word juxtapose, which will then help them develop a deeper understanding of Caryl Churchill’s Fen.

Morphemic Analysis

  • Activity Preparation
    • Supplies:
      • If students work in groups, provide each group with a whiteboard or chart paper and markers. 
      • If students work in pairs, they can complete the activity on a sheet of paper. 
    • Set-Up:
      • Determine whether students will work in pairs or in groups. 
      • As desired, have the definition of juxtapose and juxtaposition ready to display after students complete their morphemic analysis. 
      • If students have not worked with morphemic analysis before, explain to them that they will be breaking down a word to more deeply understand its roots, meaning, and related words. 

  • This activity will take approximately 50 minutes.

  • Learning Sequence
    1. Display the word juxtapose. Have students write the word on their paper or whiteboard. 
      • Tell students that even if they know the meaning of the term already, today’s activity will deepen their understanding of the word juxtapose and how it relates to other words with similar roots. (~3 minutes)
      • Please note: If students do know what the word means, they can share it with their groups, but at this point in the activity, they should not share it aloud with the class.
    2. Prompt students to divide the word into two, drawing a vertical line between juxta and pose. Then, have students list as many related words as they can beneath each word part. 
      • Students are likely to be able to list a number of words under pose—words like suppose, propose, compose, oppose, position, expose, impose, superimpose, etc. 
      • Students may struggle to find words related to juxta. They might be familiar with the word junta or the Spanish word juntos (together). If students cannot think of words related to this word part, inform them that they will still be able to examine word meaning and etymological relationships just through the root pose. (~10 minutes) 
    3. Invite students to share aloud the related words they wrote down. As desired, compile these into a class list. (~6 minutes) 
    4. Have students turn and talk: 
      • Based on the list of related words, what is the meaning of the root pose? 
        • If students are struggling in their thinking, prompt them to consider the meaning of the words oppose, opposite, and expose. Students should determine that the root word pose has to do with placement and positioning. (~7 minutes) 
    5. Have students turn and talk: Based on the list of related words, what is the meaning of the root juxta?
      • It is okay for students to be unsure about this root. Invite them to share their guesses. (~5 minutes) 
    6. Ask: Based on your understanding of the roots and any previous knowledge of the word, what is the definition of juxtapose? (~5 minutes) 
      • Share or display the definition of the word juxtapose:
        • Juxtapose (v): to place to contrasting elements side by side or close together 
      • Then, share and clarify the word juxtaposition, which is the noun form, and can specifically refer to a literary device. 
        • Juxtaposition (n): two contrasting elements side by side to highlight their differences and to create a new effect 
    7. Invite students to share examples of juxtaposition they have encountered in their classes or in media. (~7 minutes) 
    8. If time allows, have students search words related to juxtaposition through similar meanings or etymologies. (~7 minutes) 

  • This activity aligns with the following standards:
    • Illinois Arts Learning Standards 
      • Anchor Standard 8: Construct meaningful interpretations of artistic work.
    • Common Core State Standards 
      • CCSS.ELA.L.4 Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases by using context clues, analyzing meaningful word parts, and consulting general and specialized reference materials, as appropriate.
      • CCSS.ELA.L.5 Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
      • CCSS.ELA.L.6 Acquire and use accurately a range of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression.

Posted on January 25, 2023 in Learning Guides, Productions

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