Etymology Teacher Resources

English words can typically be traced back to their culture of origin—which, given the variety of words in the English language, can be anywhere in the world!

Focus on etymology early with an elementary lesson that uses word clues to explore word origin. An etymology project prompts middle schoolers to explore where selected words came from and how they arrived in the modern English language, while a high school curriculum guide focuses on dictionary and thesaurus skills, Greek and Latin roots, and domain-specific language.

Doubt the language of origin? Try out a video that investigates that rogue b in the word doubt, emphasizing that sound is never as important as a word’s history when determining its spelling. Delve more deeply into the mysteries of modern vernacular with another video, which discusses how many odd or irregular words in the English language don’t rely on English spelling or pronunciation patterns at all.

A strong knowledge of etymology can help with students’ spelling, vocabulary, and word usage. And at Lesson Planet, we’ve got a strong selection of etymological resources waiting for you!

Showing 73 - 96 of 149 resources
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Spelling Rule Exceptions for Plural Nouns: Words That End in CH and SH

For Students 3rd - 4th Standards
Have you done the dishes? Or closed the hatches? A practice worksheet invites learners to check 20 words with different endings, and to add either -s or -es to each.
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Moving With Your Roots

For Teachers 7th
Students dissect common words to study the origins of those words. In this language arts lesson, students study the Greek and Latin roots found in many words within English language. Students use dictionaries to fill out worksheets...
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Writing A Mission Statement: Part Two

For Teachers 6th - 8th
Student's identify one's values. They go over definition and function of mission statements. Learners are explained the first steps in identifying one's values. They discuss the etymology of the word "values." Students pair up and...
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Spanish in English

For Teachers 3rd - 8th
What do the words alligator, armadillo, and cockroach all have in common? Each one is an English word with Spanish origins. Introduce young etymologists to the joys of discovering word origins with a lesson that asks them to create a...
1 In 1 Collection
Lesson Planet

Dictionary Cube

For Teachers 1st - 5th Standards
Young scholars investigate new vocabulary words with a fun, collaborative activity. Given a deck of word cards, pairs of students flip over one at a time and independently look up the term in a dictionary. They then take turns rolling a...
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"The Salon for the Wits": Expanding Our Language!

For Students 8th - 9th
Before your class begins Act III of Cyrano de Bergerac, have them study some of the new vocabulary they will encounter. Words like dexterousy, caprice, slake, and chagrined are included. For each, learners record the defintion, part of...
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Flowers for Algernon: Charly's Language

For Students 7th - 9th
Although Charlie's name is misspelled on this worksheet, you can easily download the document and correct it. As middle schoolers read "Flowers for Algernon," they record the development of Charlie's language throughout the text. The...
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Making Movie Predictions

For Teachers 6th - 12th
Have you ever predicted the ending of a movie before it was over? Take your middle and high schoolers through the prediction process in this lesson, where they examine textual clues and predict the ending of a story.  They pick a sequel...
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Mississippi Trial, 1955: Vocabulary Strategy (Acquisition)

For Teachers 7th - 12th
Readers of Mississippi Trial, 1955 engage in a desktop teaching activity and teach other class members the meaning of a word from Christopher Crowe's novel using an embellished illustration of their word.
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Dictionary Skills - What's the Meaning of This!

For Teachers 6th - 8th
How do I use this word? Middle schoolers review the parts of a dictionary definition and compare an entry to a thesaurus entry. They then create mini-dictionaries using the Internet and a word processor.
1:55
Lesson Planet

Mysteries of the Vernacular: Bewilder

For Students 7th - 12th
Help your class build an understanding of how words evolve over time with a video on the origins of bewilder. The narrator goes all the way back to Old English to find the beginnings of the word and moves through the centuries,...
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Segregated from its History, How "Ghetto" Lost its Meaning

For Students 7th - 8th Standards
Are you ghetto? Words, words, words. Middle schoolers are asked to consider the power of words, the history and connotations of words, the importance of careful, respectful word choice as they read Camila Domonsoke's article about this...
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The Hobbit: Vocabulary in the Round

For Teachers 6th - 12th
Blundering, audacious, obscurest. Class members develop strategies for teaching each other vocabulary words drawn from The Hobbit.
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O Captain! My Captain - Part 3

For Teachers 8th
Heroic Trading Cards? Using a suggested list, class members use the Internet to find information about a memorable leader, select and transfer images, and craft a trading card celebrating their leader’s qualities and accomplishments. A...
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Louisiana's Tragic Hero - "Evangeline"

For Teachers 8th
"Ye who believe...List to a Tale of Love in Acadie." Longfellow's epic poem, "Evangeline," launches a study of tragic heroines, epic poetry, the expulsion of the Acadians from Canada, and their subsequent migration to Louisiana. The...
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Dragonwings: Explore Chapters 1-5

For Teachers 6th - 8th
If you are beginning Laurence Yep's Dragonwings, this will provide activities for the first five chapters. The objectives include making connections to oneself and the world, organizing information and events, vocabulary acquisition,...
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Dragonwings: Chapters 10-12

For Teachers 5th - 7th
Read and define new vocabulary words with your class, then read the final chapters of Dragonwings. They choose a writing activity to complete and then share it with the class. They also work in groups to complete a newspaper relating to...
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Reading Comprehension 5

For Students 11th - 12th
Challenge your eleventh and twelfth graders with this reading passage. Whether you're preparing for upcoming state or school-wide testing, or you're just trying to give your class reading comprehension practice, print this for your...
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Ordinary People: Desktop Teaching

For Teachers 7th - 12th
Turn the pupil into the teacher to help your learners pick up and retain vocabulary from Ordinary People by Judith Guest. Each individual selects a word, studies it in depth, and then teaches their word to the rest of the class, one...
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Sense and Sensibility Vocabulary Strategy: Desk Top Teaching

For Students 10th - 12th
Amicably dispel “the prejudices of…young mind(s)” by exposing them to the language of Jane Austen. Readers of Sense and Sensibility use desk-top strategies to teach one another the vocabulary from this classic romance novel. The resource...
2:17
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Mysteries of Vernacular: Earwig

For Students 7th - 12th
Sometimes a folk tale takes root and, even if it is not true, can determine the development of a word and its associated meanings. Take earwig, for example. An earwig has a false reputation for crawling into your brain, but the name...
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Beginner's Guide to Arabic

For Students 9th - Higher Ed
Introduce your language learners to Arabic. The most useful portion of this resource is the detailed information on the Arabic alphabet. Each letter is placed in a grid that shows the various ways to write it based on the situation...
4:29
Lesson Planet

5 Tips to Improve Your Critical Thinking

For Students 7th - 12th
Critical thinking allows individuals to dissect situations, reveal hidden concerns like bias and manipulation, and make the best decision. Share this video to improve critical thinking skills amongst your students.
1 In 1 Collection
EngageNY

Grade 9 ELA Module 1: Unit 3, Lesson 2

For Teachers 9th Standards
After viewing a clip from Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet in which major characters are introduced and the violence between the Montagues and the Capulets is depicted, the class reads act 1, scene 1, lines 158-202. Groups then analyze the...

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Etymology