Which word do you think doesn’t belong? Why do you think this? Convince us! Explain your reasoning.
Perhaps you think it’s <please> as it is a free base with no affixes or perhaps you’d choose <reapply> as there is no <ea> digraph in this word, unlike in the other three. Investigating words through an inquiry-based approach develops critical thinking skills. Once you help your students to learn how words are structured they can start to analyze all sorts of words and compare them. The discussion that follows any analysis is so valuable and will be the core of these puzzles. For sure these particular words will be interesting as you discover the pronunciation of <ea> in each of them.
People often ask me for ideas to practice the skills of analyzing and synthesizing words. We know that practice makes permanent and short and often is much more effective than one long practice session once a week. Games are a great way to practice skills and these puzzles will have the students really thinking and applying their understanding of word structure.
Write one of the group of 4 words on your board and have the students, individually or in partners, think about and then write their ‘odd-one-out’ on a whiteboard and hold it up. It’s fun to see the word they choose as inevitably they will not all be the same one. The next step of course is for the children to justify their thinking to their peers. You can’t be wrong if you can explain your thinking and it makes sense. A child might choose <spreads> as the odd-one-out because it’s the only word with the letter <d>. That shows you where their thinking is right now.
To decide on which is the odd-one-out ask yourself:
What does each word mean?
What is their structure?
Look for the morphemes:
What is the base? Is it free or bound?
Is there more than one base?
Are there any affixes?
How do the letters function in each word?
What are the graphemes?
Are there any digraphs or trigraphs?
Are there any marker letters?
Do any of the graphemes have differing pronunciation in the group of selected words?
Play these games then make some up yourself, or even better, have your students make up some. Share them on Twitter @wordtorque
Teacher Resource and Student Sheets
Download this sheet for 9 different odd-one-out puzzles.