I love this project! After reading 1984 I knew I wanted to do a project like this. The idea that limiting the amount of words as a way to control a population instantly made me think that by empowering students with more words we could create new ideas.
I have the same students for 4th and 5th grades. I tell them at the beginning of 4th grade that they will make a new word: a word that does not yet exist, but that we need in our evolving language before the end of 5th grade.
I read excerpt to the from the book “Words on the Move.”
We read the book Frindle to begin questioning where words come from.
We learn parts of speech with fidelity and analyse a sentence each day for parts of speech.
We learn 5 Greek or Latin stems each week and have cumulative tests.
Once students learn these stems, they see them in all sorts of words and it helps them understand the deeper meaning of the word. For example - de means down and sol means alone… so someone feeling desolate must be feeling thrown down and alone.
We read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and the Phantom Tollbooth and keep lists of all of the funny word play.
We watch the TED videos with Erin McKean (I have to edit her language a bit) to learn about how dictionaries are compiled.
We learn all the parts of a dictionary entry.
We read chrome-extension://ecnphlgnajanjnkcmbpancdjoidceilk/content/web/viewer.html?source=extension_pdfhandler&file=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.lee.k12.nc.us%2Fcms%2Flib03%2FNC01001912%2FCentricity%2Fdomain%2F1362%2Fread%2520works%2FA%2520New%2520Letter%2520for%2520the%2520Alphabet.pdf
and borrow his ideas about why we need more letters and more words.
I have a binder in my class that we call our dictionary of Sesquipedalian Neologisms ( words that are a foot and a half long) and as students create new words they are added to our binder. AND THEY ARE USED!
Some student examples are pretty basic… they string together stems to make new words - like “benevita” bene means good and vita means life - This student made a noun meaning “the good life.”
However, I sometimes get great words like one I linked at the top of this page. The student noticed that there was not a gender non-specific possessive singular pronoun… We have his and her, but nothing that could be used for either.
Some words have been made in honor of other students… like Kylie…who raised her hand constantly, but then announced that she had forgotten what she wanted to say. The word created in her honor was “loght” - which is a combination of lost and thought… It is an action verb!
Please let me know if you have any questions and/or (anor… as one of my students created) actually try the project and how it works for you.