Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8, K-3

In the BrainPOP ELL movie, Return to School (L3U2L3), it is the end of summer vacation, and Ben and Moby are preparing to return to school. From multi-colored notebooks to prewashed jeans, Ben has gone overboard with his back-to-school shopping! In this lesson plan, adaptable for grades K-8, students will identify and classify words with prefixes, define those words using evidence in the movie, and create a game with prefixes and base words.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Identify and classify words with prefixes.
  2. Find evidence in the movie that illustrates the meaning of the words with prefixes.
  3. Create a game with prefixes and base words.



For Activity 1, Prefix Chart, prepare a Prefix Chart and make a copy for each student, or have students create their own charts. The column headings are the following prefixes from the movie: re – over – under – out – pre – sub – trans – uni – bi – tri – multi-.

For Activity 2, Find the Evidence, prepare a two-column Find the Evidence chart and make a copy for each student, or have students create their own charts. Label the first column “Words,” and label the second column “Explanations.”

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Prefix Chart. Before watching the movie Return to School (L3U2L3), ask students how they prepare for back-to-school at the end of summer. As students watch the movie, have them fill in the words they hear that have prefixes in the correct column in the Prefix Chart (see Preparation). Differentiate instruction by turning closed-captioning on or off. After the movie, discuss the words in each column, and the meaning of the prefixes. Challenge students to add other words they know to each column, and to continue adding to the chart as they find new words. Remind students that prefixes can help them figure out the meaning of unknown words.
  2. Find the Evidence. In a repeated viewing of the movie Return to School (L3U2L3), instruct students to listen for sentences or other clues in the movie that help them understand the meaning of the words with prefixes. The evidence can be a paraphrase or restatement, a clarifying sentence that gives them a clue to the meaning, or even an image that explains the meaning. Have students record their findings on a chart. For example: Overdid - "I really did get a lot." Oversized – "Everything will fit inside it." Multiple – We see undershirts in several colors.
  3. Prefix Families. Watch the Grammar section of Return to School (L3U2L3). After viewing the segment for each prefix (re-, pre-, sub-), brainstorm other words the students might know. You can make a web on the board, and group the words according to their parts of speech for students to see word family patterns.
  4. Create a Prefix Game. In pairs or small groups, have students create a game using prefixes and base words. Instruct students to think of ten words that have a prefix. Distribute 10 index cards to each pair or group and instruct them to write the prefixes on five of the cards and the base words on the other five. They can use the Prefix Chart they created in Activity 1, or the Know More from Return to School (L3U2L3) for reference. Then have the pairs or small groups exchange their cards with another pair or group. Challenge students to play a memory game where they place the cards face down, and flip them to make a match between prefix and base word.

Extension Activities

Have students choose one of the prefixes they learned about and illustrate several words that use that prefix on posterboard. For ideas, encourage students to take a look at the Know More feature of Return to School (L3U2L3).

Have students write analogies with the vocabulary words from this lesson, or with any words with prefixes. For example:

Read is to preread as write is to ______________.
Comfortable is to uncomfortable as believable is to ________________.


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