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Print & Fold Resources

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Print & Fold Resources

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ELA: Work Mat Resources
ELA: Work Mat Resources

Transformation Resources

Transformation Resources
Transformation Resources

Classroom Transformation - Roots and Affixes Surgery Room

Keeping students engaged and motivated, especially at the end of the year, can be quite a challenge. For this reason, I have been evaluating the best ways to keep students excited to come to class and "work" (well, to them this seems more like playing). You may be wondering if this works with older students, and the answer is DEFINITELY YES! I am a 5th grade teacher, and the students absolutely LOVE these transformations!

I used the Surgery Room Transformation to evaluate students understanding of Roots and Affixes through this rigorous and enriching activity that forced them to use higher order thinking skills in order to complete the tasks assigned. 

We had previously learned prefixes and suffixes in class, as well as, had a crash course in Roots, using this Root of the Week resource. Students were then given a written test on the meanings of the roots and were informed that only those who received an A or a B on their "Certification Exam" would be able to participate. This truly motivated them to pass their exam. Once they passed, they received a "Certificate of Advanced Education in Roots and Affixes Surgery" from the Roots and Affixes Transplant Center. They would now be ready to participate in the next day's surgeries.   

It was a priority for me to have students master their roots before participating because this activity would be rigorous, and those students who were not prepared would be unable to contribute, resulting in behavior management issues. In order to help them prepare, they participated in "Buddy Study" sessions and games such as "Quiz, Quiz, Trade."

The purchases made, were:

  • white and blue table clothes (Dollar Tree)
  • rope and clothes pins (Dollar Tree)
  • 6 pairs of scissors (Dollar Tree - two in a pack)
  • 6 glue pens (Dollar Tree - three in a pack)
  • 30 Surgical masks (Dollar Tree - 10 in a pack)
  • 6 cookie sheets (Dollar Tree)
  • Plastic shower caps (CVS)
  • Plastic gloves (Donated)
  • Mini bandages (Dollar Tree)


I set up the trays as shown above with the glue pens, two pencils, a pen, gloves, masks, caps, a plastic bag with mini bandages and "Operating Room #__" signs. In each operating room there was also a clipboard with recording sheets and a folder with "patients" and "donors" inside. 

Each pair of patients and donors were placed in their own individual page protector. Students worked on one pair at a time (after all, surgeons will not have multiple surgeries going on in one room). 

As students walked into the classroom, I had them sit on the floor in front of our projection board. Tis was our pre-op meeting.  We discussed the "Transplant Procedures" which I had posted on the board. Next, I pinned their name tags on them (similar to the one shown below) and assigned them to an operating room (4 students per room).

(Scrubs for myself were purchased at Walmart for $5.96 for the top and $5.96 for the bottom.)

Once in the operating rooms, students had to assign a job to themselves. The jobs were: 

  • Patient Prepper: responsible for pulling the "Donors" and "Patients" out of the "Holding Room" one pair at a time, introducing them to the rest of the doctors in the room.
  • Surgeon: responsible for informing the staff what the "Patients" problem was (the definition of the word they were to come up with) and carefully cut out the ONE word part they needed. 
  • Stitcher: responsible for neatly stitching (gluing) the word parts together and report the word to the "Head Supervisor."
  • Head Supervisor: responsible for recording the "remedies" onto the log on the clip board, as well as, make sure that everyone was on task and report back to me.

(Patient Prepper)



(Head Supervisor)

Students were engaged in collaborate conversations and really had to analyze word parts to come up with the word being defined on the patient. 

As you can see, students were really engaged and working collaboratively.

In the middle of the lesson, a "Code Blue" was announced and students had two minutes to save a "dying patient" by answering prefix, suffix, and root word questions found on the patient. This was one of the students favorite parts and hoped another "Code Blue" would be announced later in the activity.

At the end of the activity, we met as a group as I displayed the patients on the projection board. We recapped our surgery sessions, the remedies for each patient, and how they came up with each remedy.

If you would like to own a copy of the Roots resource we used, you can find it by clicking HERE.


Happy operating, I mean teaching.  ;)


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