This strategy allows students to realize that words have many features in common. It also helps students see concepts behind different words. First students select a general category. Within that category, they list common features that are unique to words that fit into that category (teacher assistance may be required at first). Students then determine which features each word has (which they represent by putting an x in that category). Students look for patterns among words, and the teacher guides them to come up with some sort of rationale for each word.
I plan to add the feature analysis page to my Words Their Way General Sort packet to challenge the few students in the Derivational Relations group.