I originally wanted to call this entry “Pirates and Prefixes” because it just sounds better, but I soon realized not all of the words we worked with today contained prefixes.  Therefore, I resolved to titling it “Pirates and Word Parts: A Treasure of Knowledge.”  Then I decided to shorten it to the name above…to make it easier to understand.  Kind of.

So aaaaargh you ready to learn what pirates and word parts have in common?

Vocabulary words from the lesson:




Bona Fide








Do you see any patterns? Any relationships involved?

When I asked my students the same question, I received these answers: “Lots of the words start with the same letters.” “Lots of the words are antonyms.” “Lots of them are new words I don’t know.”

Then I asked them to think about pirates and how might these words relate to them.  I got these answers next: “Pirates are mean, so they probably maltreat someone.” “Pirates get bonuses for finding treasure.” “Pirates can be protagonists of stories.”

One student countered with: “They can be antagonists, too!”

I commended them for their spirited discussion and through in a couple of kid-friendly pirate jokes, at which none really, truly laughed at, only chuckled or what I so lovingly call ‘pity laughed.’

I then distributed a short article called “All about Pirates” and asked them to skim through it.  It didn’t take them long to realize all of the words I displayed for them on the board were featured in the article we were about to read.

After reading the article, I asked them to sort the words based on common roots.

There are three common roots: Agon (Latin; struggle), Bon/Boun (Greek; good), and Tract/Treat (Latin; pull or drag).

The students were amazed to see how words can be broken down and rebuilt to form new words.  They were also amazed to see how the roots (and with some of them, prefixes) related closely with the true meaning of the word.

We did an activity called, “Process the Meaning,” where students had 10 sentences with underlined words.  Their job was to use the word bank provided to substitute the underlined word with the word it was a synonym for in the passage.

Ex: There was a protest regarding the abuse of animals.

The underlined word would be substituted for the word, ‘maltreatment,’ since it is the synonym of abuse.

I was absolutely amazed to see how well the students did with the lesson and I really look forward to the rest of the unit.

If you would like the materials to this unit (including the powerpoint), just let me know and I’ll be happy to share it with you!

Thanks for reading and remember to always wonder!

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