Starters, Young Learners

Compound words for Starters

If there is one thing that I enjoy teaching to my YL is definitely compound nouns. I like to think about them as two pieces of a jigsaw that when you put them together, you can create a new word. Here is a lesson plan and a set of worksheets that I came up with for Cambridge Starters.

It’s been some time since I posted a lesson plan for YL and this one feels more like a treat than a chore. I’ve made a list of 12 compound nouns that your little starters should know by the end of the course. All of the words were gathered from the official Cambridge wordlist for Starters. This is why this lesson plan is probably the best to do in the second year of teaching Starters or towards the end of the course when all the vocabulary is already presented.

This lesson consists of a lesson plan, compound nouns worksheet, compound nouns flashcards and a memory card game. All of them are available to download for free below at the end of the post. If you are interested in a complete set of worksheets on compound words for Starters, you can download them from my Teachers pay Teachers store.

The class can be started by drawing a raincloud and a bow. Students should be able to guess the meaning of the two words and put them together in a math equation style to create a rainbow. As a revision, you can play The rainbow song (or any other that your students are familiar with) and go over the colours. If you have more time to spend, you can ask your students to draw their own rainbows and decorate the classroom!

Then you can move on to the flashcards. There are so many different games that you can play with flashcards! My all-time favourite is starting by modelling and drilling the pronunciation. Then I move on to the flashcard flash race! I show the flashcards for less than one second at a time and my students need to race to name the flashcards in the shortest time possible. It is quite competitive so you must be careful and play it only with the kids who know how to lose.

The first game was without the compound words. Now you can add the compound words and using the math equations put two words that make the ultimate word. You can put these words on the board and either use the labels or label them yourself. This will be useful to have on display for the next part of the class.

Your students can sit down now for a bit and do just a little bit of reading and writing. The first exercise deals with reading instructions and colouring the objects accordingly. By using the example from the board (if necessary), ask your students to connect two words that make compound words. In the end, ask your students to write the new words and draw them!

Then it’s time for a stirrer! You can hide some of the memory cards and ask your students to walk around the classroom, find and name them. Just make sure that you didn’t lose any pieces along the way! (If you’re worried that this may happen, either skip this part or have a second set of cards on you.) Once all the cards are found, put them on a table or the floor face down. Now it’s time to play some memory. Students should match two words that make a compound noun. They’re colour-coded making it easier to locate and remember the cards.

The class ends with each student taking two words at random (flashcards or memory cards) and putting them together to make their own compound words that they can write down and draw! This can be a creative task that can yield interesting results worth sharing with the rest of the school.

Hope you enjoyed some of my ideas and you’ll find them helpful for your lesson on compound words. Click the link below to download the files for free. Happy teaching!


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