Sunday, February 20, 2011

Word Work

So, I have worked really hard over the last few years to figure out how to do word work in a way that helps my students to retain and apply their skills. We use the 220 Dolch words as our sight word program, Words Their Way as our word study program, and have designated 40 kindergarten and 42 first grade words for spelling words.

These are some of the organizational and practice techniques I have created to help my students practice all of these areas of word study.

Sight Words:Our whole school created games from The School Bell's Dolch Word Kit Website. At first, I was at a loss as to how to organize everything for students without constantly needing to set things up. I bought 3 drawer Sterlite containers - 4 of them to house the 11 lists. I then copied the games: Battleship, Pig and Stop, and Roll, Say, Keep on cardstock that was color coded for each list. Later I also made "I Have, Who Has" for each list from the Carl's Corner site and "Connect Four Games" (not sure where I found this idea) for each list. I have a few other ideas up my sleeve too.

I teach all of these games to the whole class at the beginning of the year. They run pretty effortlessly the rest of the year. I put a color-coded label on each drawer. This system has been pretty successful for the last 4 years. The students play these games during Daily 5, as morning work, and when they finish activities early.

Word Their Way:
Each of my students has a 5x8 manilla envelope to keep their sort in (I used to lamite these, but have found it doesn't matter if I don't and it save on both the lamination and the environment if I don't). In past years I have sent their sorts home on Friday to practice with their families. This year I have tried having the kids glue their sorts on Friday. Some feel that this takes up too much time, but I have found it to be a valuable assessment opportunity.

  • On Monday I introduce the sort, model and give students time to cut and sort their sort during Daily 5.
  • On Tuesday, the kids sort and write sentences - one sentence for a word in each of the the patterns.
  • On Wednesday, I have the students write the room for words with the given pattern. I have also collected a few phonics books over the years and put them out for the kids to find words in as well.
  • On Thursday, the kids roll cubes or use tiles to build words that have each of the pattens. The must make 3 of each word and any additional words are bonus.
  • On Friday, there is a finish up time and the students do a final sort and glue.
Some times int he year, this routine is easier to keep up than others. I keep all of the sorts in folders in a crate. I try to copy them all at the beginning of the year so that I am never scrambling. The blacklines for the activity are put out for Daily 5. Sometimes I have put them in packets. Other times I just put out the individual sheets.

My kids have individualized lists. I use mini notebooks from the Dollar Tree to write 4-5 words per week. I give out new words on Monday. Students practice during the week in the 10-15 minutes we have between specials and lunch using our "Spelling Tools". They buddy test on Friday. Any words that are not mastered go on the next week's list. The spelling tools I have are:
  • magnet writing boards - mini ones from Michaels and the Dollar General ($1.00)

  • alphabet stencils - Dollar Tree

  • "Fancy Pencils" - someone was throwing away these pencils at the end of last year. They are colored pencils that are swirly.

  • keyboards - paper printed keyboard that are laminated.

  • sign language boards - copied and laminated

  • magnet letters - from the Dollar Tree. I keep them in a cute little metal lunch box from JoAnn Fabrics. Students use the cover of the tin or a file cabinet to make and break their words.

  • letter beads - students string these onto pipe cleaners. They are also kept in the little lunch boxes.

  • wikki sticks
My rules are that the kids must make each of their words at least 3 times each time they practice and the materials must be put away neatly or the items that are left to are "closed" the next day.

Right now all of these materials are stored in a basket on one of the shelves. I hope to keep them is transparent shoe boxes on the cubby shelves once my shelf make-over is finished and I can get the labels made.

So far, these are the routines that I have come up with. What do you do for word work?

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