While the efforts are mainly geared toward the upcoming Stanford 9
test in May, Hines says learning the roots of words has a much broader
"It's important to build vocabulary not just for a test, but for
reading and writing as well," Hines said. "I tell the kids even if they
don't know the whole word, if they know a part, it will help."
Students in Hines' seventh-grade class have been studying the roots of
words for the past two weeks. They learn the roots during the week, and
then on Fridays get to test their knowledge with a lively game of
Pictionary. Students must draw the root first and then the entire word
for the rest of their team to guess.
Hector Hernandez, 13, said he enjoys studying vocabulary in such an
"It's fun because you learn a lot of words, and it's not like at home,
where you study them alone," he said.
Student teacher Misty Stutes, who has been working with Hines'
students on vocabulary, said the drawing game helps reinforce what the
students learn in class.
"In order for them to draw a picture, they need to know what the word
means," Stutes said. "Repetition also instills vocabulary."
And that's why most of the staff is wearing the root necklaces -- to
provide a constant opportunity for students to get acquainted and
reacquainted with roots. Hines said almost everyone on campus is wearing
the necklaces, including janitors and librarians.
"It sends a message that we're all part of the educational process,
we're all pulling together," Hines said.
Even Principal Mike McGuire has been seen with a pink badge around his
"I think it's going to be extremely valuable because we have buy-in
with the teachers and administrators," McGuire said. "We're looking for
marked improvement in not only the ability to demonstrate the good
mechanics of spelling, but also improvement on the [Stanford 9] scores."
* IN THE CLASSROOM is a weekly feature in which Daily Pilot education
writer Deirdre Newman visits a campus in the Newport-Mesa area and writes
about her experience.