Get this…yesterday we sat around the house ALL day and did absolutely nothing. I didn’t even turn on my laptop! We watched the Olympics all night! Can I just be honest and say I want a gymnast’s body?! I won’t lie. I envy those guys. My first day of school (with students) is Wednesday and I did nothing yesterday. It was so nice to just be with the fiancee’ and the golden doodle and relax! Now I will pay for it the next few days as I but my hump to get stuff finished, but it’s all good. And now, here is this week’s Schedulin’ Sundays!
My school and our district tell teachers not to teach spelling using words and lists and spelling tests. When I first started teaching heard this, I was so against it. Instead, we’re supposed to use Word Study and teach sounds and features. HMMM. Some people definitely got some angry arms over this– initially. I thought back to my school days and I remember getting the list of spelling words on Monday, studying them and taking a test on Friday. I am a pretty good speller so I thought this system worked well. So I didn’t really see a need to change.
However, now that I have been using word study with my little monsters, I have seen a HUGE improvement in my students writing and…wait for it…spelling! And we don’t even do a spelling test!
My school uses Words Their Way as our word study program. I do not follow it exactly, so here is how I use the resources and help my students become strong spellers!
We have approximately 20 minutes a day for word study.
Monday-we get a new sort. Each child cuts their sort apart (we use a timer and make the cutting a race or we’d still be cutting on Wednesday!) and use individual pocket charts to do their sort. I use the $1 pocket charts from Target! Early in the year, everyone does the same sort. In October or November (depending on the class) we take our first word study assessment and I differentiate my groups. After they finish their sort, I check it and we discuss any issues. They put their sort in a Ziploc bag and store it in their word study drawer.
Tuesday-Friday-Each child retrieves their word study and their notebook. They do their sort and I check it. After I check their work, they have to pic 5 of their pictures (very few of my friends get to the sorts that use words) and they have to write the 5 words and do a quick illustration to go with their words. The word study notebooks are just composition books cut in half. I allow them to use felt tip markers for their word study. The felt tip markers are good for handwriting because they offer more resistance than pencils or pens.
During this time, I am monitoring the children’ sorts and giving them guidance. I also use this time to call groups to my table to do small group sorting. I also call students to my table to assist them with writing their 5 words.
To organize my word study, I have 3 groups. Red, blue and green. Initially they are just random groups because everyone does the same sorts. To keep things organized and help with mixed up sorts and lost pieces, I copy the sorts on red, blue and green paper! I have a 3drawer container that is labeled with names written on the corresponding color of post it note (of course, Post Its! my fetish…). In October or November, we do our first assessment. I score the assessment and form my three groups. I do another assessment in January and another in March and re-do my groups. However, beginning in late October I will start informally differentiating my word study if I notice I have students who are ready to move on to more difficult sorts. I also do this informal re-arranging throughout the year.
I also posted two Olympic themed activities in my TPT store today! One is a math Write The Room and the other is a set of I Have Who Has games with an Olympic theme! Check em out and let me know what you think!
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