Lesson plan

Compound Word Connections

Help your students master compound words with compound words creations! Using an arts-integrated approach, this lesson incorporates diagrams and illustrations that can lead to understanding the fuller meanings of compound words.
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  • Students will be able to use parts of a compound word to determine the meaning of the whole word.
  • Students will be able to use compound words in context to represent the meaning of the words.
(5 minutes)
  • Ask students to use a word (such as the word, rain) to make a new word (e.g., raindrop, rainfall, rainbow, raincoat).
  • Give students the opportunity to think, pair, share with a classmate, and then allow to share in a brief class discussion.
  • Tell the students that they will be learning how to use parts of compound words to determine the meaning and context of those words. (If needed, briefly describe the meaning of the context of words.)
(5 minutes)
  • Demonstrate the process of breaking down several different compound words (e.g., afterthought, breathtaking, hilltop, sundown, and workplace).
  • Create a diagram or quick picture of each word that includes the individual parts of the word that represents the entire meaning of the word.
  • Write a sentence on the board representing each word in context.
(15 minutes)
  • Tell the students that they will be working together to create a compound word collage.
  • Divide students into groups of two or three.
  • Distribute two sticky notes and a sentence strip to each student.
  • Using a group of compound words (e.g., airtight, daydream, fireproof, nationwide, underground, anytime, groundwater, summertime, thunderstorm, backbreaking, afternoon, and undercover) assign a different word to each group of students.
  • Ask the students to use the sticky notes to create two illustrations or diagrams that represent the meanings of the individual word inside the compound word. In addition, ask them to write a sentence with their word on their sentence strips.
  • Once all students are finished, post a piece of chart paper at the front of the classroom.
  • Invite students to share the word that they analyzed, along with their drawings and sentences. Have them post their sticky notes in a collage format on the chart paper.
  • Guide students in clarifying the meaning of the words, as needed.
(15 minutes)
  • Ask students to complete the worksheet Compound Creations.
  • If students have difficulty identifying the different parts of the word, underline individual word parts to reveal the two words that make up the compound word.


  • Challenge the students to a compound word mix-up. Give students cut apart index cards with compound words. Challenge them to group the cards into new compound words and to use the parts to explain the meaning.
  • Challenge students to create mini-posters of compound words that share single words (e.g., rainbow, raindrop).


  • Circle one part of the compound word and have the students identify the other part of the compound word before using it in context.
  • Give students a partial sentence to complete using the compound word of choice.
  • Have students conduct an online search for pictures that represent various compound words.
  • Show the students a picture and ask them to guess which compound words that are represented.
(10 minutes)
  • Give the students three to five compound words (e.g., skyscraper, springtime, ongoing, seaside, and airmail) and write these words on the board.
  • Have students turn and talk to a partner about the meaning of the individual words. Then, have them predict the meaning of the compound word.
  • Ask the students to create a diagram/illustration and use each word in a sentence.
(5 minutes)
  • Invite students to participate in a ball toss with the compound word chart.
  • Ask students to toss the ball so that it hits one of the compound words.
  • Invite students to share the meaning (in context) with the class.
  • Conclude with a class discussion, discussing how students can determine the meaning of compound words by looking at the individual words and their meanings.

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