Currently, she is offering a two-part introductory "Snapshot" workshop as well as several sessions on specific topics for going deeper.
If you sign up for the wordtorque newsletter, Fiona also sends you a FREE Structured Word Inquiry lesson plan, which is great!
I like so many things about her lesson and I've used it twice in the past few days. I like that she chose < water > which is a very familiar word and a simple base element to put in word sums and a matrix since it doesn't have any spelling changes when a suffix is added.
It works well for modeling words using a fist for a base, two fingers before or after the fist for an affix, and a second fist put next to the first one for a second base (compound word).
It is a bit hard to remember to spell the base in this one since its pronounciation doesn't change when it is put into a word sum, but that's a good habit to get into right from the start. (And useful when you run into words where pronunciation does change, like species, specimen, special!)
Always spell the base!
I also liked the little twists that she put in her list of words. Rebecca Loveless also puts in words with a meaning relationship but no spelling relationship into her Word Bag activity, but Fiona even includes some words that are built on the base but have affixes that don't make sense, so they are not words. Like < rebathwater >.
If you have a young child around, you'll find this happens all the time. Use them to help you craft your Word Bags! Zac came up with some words like this when he was listening in on the lesson and wanted to join. He suggested < watertree > (structural connection -- built on water -- but not a word) and < boat > (meaning connection but no structural connection).
We went through each word inspired by Fiona's list and asked ourselves, is it in the family of < water >? Some were and some weren't. Some we had to look up; one little boy laughed out loud at the idea of watermelon being in the family because he saw absolutely no meaning connection. But when we looked it up in etymonline, we found one.
We also considered if there were words we wanted to add to the list. We thought for a long time and finally added < watertight >.
You can do lots of things with this. A simple Word Bag with each word on an index card and ask each child as they pull out a word, is it in the family?
You can take all the words that ARE in the family and write word sums for them.
You can take all the word sums you create and put them in Mini Matrix-Maker (this is super-easy to use and great for homeschoolers).
It is super-fun to make a matrix and they are wonderful for dyxlexic children! In order for the website program to work correctly, you must identify each base element by putting a capital letter at the start.
Here is our list of word sums and the resulting matrix:
Water + s
Water + y
Water + ed
Water + ing
Bath + Water
Rain + Water
Salt + Water
Water + Proof + ed
Under + Water
Water + Fall + s
Water + Melon + s
Water + Color
Water + Tight
One of the best things about Mini Matrix-Maker is that it is so easy to go back to the previous page and add in new words when you think of them, and then toggle back to your matrix and see how it has changed.
Enjoy playing around with it!
Our weekly SWI time is very low-key and open to homeschoolers who are just starting this study and would enjoy the camaraderie of tackling words as a group. It's a bit hard to do alone. SWI works better with several children to bounce ideas off of each other. If you'd like to join our Zoom sessions on Wednesdays, just let me know! Bring whatever word you're curious about!