What is Morphology?
Morphology is the study of the meaningful units of words. Morphology is different from phonology which is the study of the sounds of words. Interested in phonology? We have a program for that too! Click here to learn more! A morpheme may have one sound, or it may have multiple sounds.
In morphology, we have base words, roots, prefixes, and suffixes. Sometimes you will hear prefixes and suffixes referred to as affixes. Base words are those words that have meaning all by themselves. For example, play. Notice that play may have multiple meanings (the action you do at recess and what you perform on a stage), but you need the entire word. You can’t break it into smaller parts of meaning.
We can add information to base words using prefixes and suffixes. In this blog post, we will show examples of how to add suffixes to show that a noun is plural. A plural noun represents more than one thing. For example, the word cats means more than one cat. For comparison, a singular noun represents one thing. A cat is just one cat.
There are many different types of plural noun suffixes in English. There are so many, and it is best to teach them with a systematic and explicit program. So, that is what I created.
The program is brilliantly simple. Using a Canva slideshow, you introduce the concept of plural nouns to your students. I do not have this part in a slide. You can show a YouTube video or give a hands-on explanation in your classroom. It can be as simple as showing them one pencil and then three pencils as you use singular and plural vocabulary.
Once students understand the concept of singular and plural nouns, they are ready for some of the suffix patterns. The number of patterns you teach your students will depend on their grade level. The program uses all of them, but you don’t have to teach every pattern.
This is a ten-day program. You might think that it is a lot of time teaching one type of suffix, but you will see how powerful those ten days will be.
Each day, you will introduce one plural nouns suffix pattern using the chart that references all the rules. We want students to see that they are learning just one rule out of many. (I probably wouldn’t do this with kindergarten or maybe even first grade, but second graders and up can definitely handle it.)
You explicitly teach the rule and give some examples (all of this information is in the chart). Then, students get either their notebooks or a whiteboard ready. The slide after the chart has a base word that follows the pattern you just taught. Students apply what they learned to make the base word plural. (We are working on creating plural nouns, so all of the base words will be nouns.)
Here is where the magic happens. After day 1, you will get a mix of the current rule being studied and the past rules. Students are constantly coming back to what they learned in the days before. This repeated, spaced practice allows time for forgetting and then remembering, which is how we get the strongest learning. Worried you students will get too stressed out trying to remember the rules? This is a low-stakes activity. The answers are always given on the next slide. Kids can write down their answer and immediately check for accuracy. When doing work like this, getting that immediate feedback is what makes learning sticky.
Curious about the order of the program? Check it out!
Plural Nouns Suffix 1
The most common suffix for making a noun plural is the letter s. For example, cat becomes cats.
Since this is the easiest and more common suffix for making a noun plural, we teach it on day one of the program.
Plural Nouns Suffix 2
The second plural noun suffix we teach is -es. We use this suffix when words end in s, ss, sh, ch, x, or z. For example, dish becomes dishes.
Plural Nouns Suffix 3
The third plural noun suffix we teach is the letter s for words that end in a vowel + y. For example, the day becomes days. We teach this as a separate rule to differentiate from the words that end in a consonant + y. We will learn about these words next.
Plural Nouns Suffix 4
The fourth plural noun suffix we teach is -ies for words that end in consonant + y. We drop the y and add -ies. Some people say, “Change the y to i, and add -es.” For example, candy becomes candies.
Plural Nouns Suffix 5
The fifth plural noun suffix we teach is for words that end in f or fe. We drop the f or fe and add -ves. For example, loaf becomes loaves or wife becomes wives. There are some exceptions to this rule that we will learn about next.
Plural Nouns Suffix 6
The sixth plural noun suffix we teach is the exception to dropping f or fe and adding -ves. Unfortunately, there is no rule for these exceptions. In fact, to make matters worse, some words are correct, following either pattern. We do not go into these words in this program. We only teach them in the drop the f or fe and add -ves rule. Examples of this rule include roof becoming roofs and cliff becoming cliffs.
Plural Nouns Suffix 7
The seventh plural noun suffix we teach is -oes for words that end in the letter o. For example, tomato becomes tomatoes. This rule has some exceptions, but they are so uncommon that we do not address them in this program. Also, many of the exceptions list’s words are correct when spelled with -oes at the end.
Plural Nouns Suffix 8
The eighth and final plural noun suffix in this program isn’t even a suffix at all. These are all of the irregular plural nouns that do not follow a predictable pattern. There are a lot of them. That is why we spend three days on these irregular plural nouns.
If you are counting, that is a full ten days of morphology instruction. Plus, we give you five more days of review to use directly after your initial ten days or interspersed for weeks to come.
This program sounds pretty amazing, right?! You would probably pay a lot, at least a few dollars, for the convenience of having everything prepped and ready to go, right?! Well, I will not ask you to pay a couple of dollars. In fact, I am not going to ask you to pay anything. You can have this program for free. Click the picture below to go to the view-only version of my Canva slides. It is yours to use to teach your students. Just please don’t sell it or give it away as your own work. One final ask. If you use this program and love it, please show us some love and tell people where you got it.
Here is the link. Just click on the picture.