Lesson plan

-Er and -Est: Which is the Best?

Do your students need extra practice forming words with the suffixes *-er* and* -est* depending on the context? With an abundance of words to explore, your students will learn how to determine which suffix is best for each individual context.
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  • Students will be able to form adjectives with -er and -est.
  • Students will be able to choose the best -er or -est word for each individual context.
(5 minutes)
  • Pose the questions: "What are adjectives and how can we create words with -er and -est? When should we use words with -er and -est?"
  • Challenge the students to pass a piece of paper among their group as they brainstorm words that have these endings.
  • Tell the students that they will be learning some special ways to use the suffixes -er and -est and which contexts fit the different suffixes.
(10 minutes)
  • Begin creating an anchor chart on the board for students to reference later. Create four separate columns and use the chart (as described below) to share the rules of adding the suffixes -er and -est, along with examples.
  • Using the word cheap (or another word of choice that follows the pattern), show the students how you can add the suffix -er or -est to create the words cheaper and cheapest. Use the words in context, demonstrating how the suffix -er creates a comparison that shows more, while the suffix -est creates a comparison that shows most.
  • Continue with the word, easy (or other word that ends with the letter y). Tell the students that since the word ends in y you will need to change the y to an i before adding the suffixes. Demonstrate this process and show the students how the new words can be used in context.
  • Continue with the word hot. This time, demonstrate how you need to double the t since the word follows a consonant, vowel, consonant (CVC) pattern. Demonstrate how the words can be used in context.
(20 minutes)
  • Using a selection of adjectives that can include -er and -est (such as high, old, short, happy, narrow, grumpy, rich, hard, few, and filthy), guide the students in creating new words using these root words, as follows.
  • Distribute a whiteboard and whiteboard marker to each student or pair of students.
  • As you show each word, ask the students to create two new words with the word by adding -er and -est.
  • Remind the students that some words follow different rules and they can use the anchor chart to reference as they are creating the words.
  • Guide the students in making corrections as needed and then write each new word on a separate index card, placing it in the pocket chart for students to reference.
  • Continue with the remainder of the words.
  • Tell the students that they will now be playing a game with the words that they have created.
  • Take all of the words out of the pocket chart and mix up the cards.
  • Distribute one card to each student.
  • Ask the students to find other students who have similar cards.
  • Once students have finished finding their group, lead a brief discussion on how the words are similar based on the endings as well as the spelling patterns.
  • Collect the cards one last time and distribute them again, one per student.
  • Ask the students to find their partner that has the matching card (such as the pair cheaper and cheapest).
  • Invite the students to write sentences on sentence strips that show the different meanings of the two matching words.
  • Once students are finished with creating their sentences, cover each focus word with a sticky note.
  • Invite the class to guess the covered words using the context of the sentence.
  • Place the grouped cards for the students to reference on the pocket chart.
  • Ask the students to complete the worksheet, Endings with -er and -est.
  • If needed, provide additional support by highlighting clue words.


  • Give the students some more challenging word roots. Challenge the students to use the same word root in two different contexts that include -er and -est endings.


  • Create individual desk reminders for students using sticky notes.
  • If students need help with the independent work, underline clue words for students or allow students to work in pairs and discuss any clues that reveal the correct word.
  • Instead of having the students create words and sentences on physical cards, have them create them online! Use an editable document and assign each student or group of students to a word. Ask them to create new words with -er and -est and to use these words in context.
(5 minutes)
  • Give the students four word roots (such as scary, weak, nice, and mad) and ask the students write in their journals, creating words with the suffixes -er and -est and using the words in context.
(5 minutes)
  • Invite the students to make a circle around the prepared pie-shaped piece.
  • Place the paper clip in the middle and the end of a pen or pencil on the inside of the paper clip so that it is like a spinner.
  • Invite a student to spin the spinner by flicking the paper clip.
  • Once the paper clip lands on a word, invite students to share with a partner how that word can be used to create a new word using -er or -est.
  • Invite students to share their thinking and the context in which their new word could be used.
  • Conclude the lesson by summarizing differences in adjectives with -er and -est as well as how the words are used in different contexts.

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