Lesson plan

Compound Charades

This lesson includes a bunch of activities to help students learn about compound words. Your second-graders will love guessing and illustrating compound words in this colorful lesson plan!
Grade Subject View aligned standards

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Students will be able to decipher the meanings of basic compound words.

(5 minutes)
  • Write the title of the book Thumbtacks, Earwax, Lipstick, Dipstick on the board.
  • Ask for a volunteer to read the words.
  • Ask students to look for patterns or similarities between the words. Give them each 30 seconds to discuss with a partner or group.
(10 minutes)
  • Have students share their discussion. Guide with the following questions: How many syllables does each word have? Can you break the words apart at the syllables? What do you notice now? Can the two parts stand alone? Are they words by themselves?
  • Once students notice there are two words in each of the longer words, say “When we put two smaller words together to make a larger word, we call this a compound word. Let’s read a book with more examples of compound words."
  • After reading Thumbtacks, Earwax, Lipstick, Dipstick: What is a Compound Word?, call on volunteers to share other examples.
  • Write them on the board, and invite students individually to show what two words make up the larger word. Ask them to think about the meaning of the two separate words and predict the meaning of the compound word.
  • If a student gives a non-example, explain: “Only if the two words are both real words by themselves can it be called a compound word. For example, return would not be a compound word because re- is not a word by itself.”
(10 minutes)
  • Say, “Now that you know about how compound words work, we are going to do some acting out.”
  • Explain that you will pick two students to act out a compound word. They will each be acting out one of the words so it is their job to put them together to make the new word.
  • Review the rules of charades (no talking, motions only).
  • Choose two volunteers. Give them each an index card with a word.
  • Either allow students to call out guesses or choose students to guess until they reveal the compound word. Call on individuals to share the meanings of the individual words and then a prediction of the compound words' meaning.
  • Let the winners now be the new actors. Continue for all remaining index cards.
(10 minutes)
  • Say, “We have discussed many examples of compound words and practiced putting words together through motions. We've also discussed how the meaning changes from the two individual words to a compound word. Now, you are going to combine words to make compound words and illustrate them.”
  • Distribute the Make Compound Words worksheet to each student.
  • Allow students time to work independently while circulating the room to assist students where needed. Stop and engage students in conversation about word meanings. Ask questions like:
    • What do the two individual words mean?
    • How does the meaning change when the words are put together?
    • What visual shows the meaning of the compound word?
  • Enrichment: Have advanced students also complete the Compound Word Puzzle worksheet.
  • Support: Give struggling students one-on-one assistance as they work on the different worksheets.
(5 minutes)
  • Distribute the Identify Compound Words worksheet and read aloud the directions.
  • Collect the worksheets as students finish.
(10 minutes)
  • Ask each student for an example of a compound word and the two smaller words within. Have them share the meaning of the two individual words and a prediction for the compound word's meaning.
  • Remind students that understanding the meaning of the two individual words helps us better understand the meaning of the new compound word.

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