Last year I purchased(school funds...all of it), (out of pocket), (more out of pocket), (you guessed it- even more out of pocket!) all at the same time like a crazy person... And I got overwhelmed. It was the start of my second year of teaching, I was a full time grad student at night and things just got a little crazy.
I did successfully implement The Daily 5 (LOVE IT!) and I kinda sorta did ok with The CAFE book. I like it, too, but it got lost in the hustle. Here is a snapshot from early in the year (I did fill it up more than this!) Some teachers re-arrange "CAFE" to spell out "FACE". But then "The Cafe Book" would have been "The Face Book" ....get it? ;)
I started strong but by the end of the year... I completely neglected poor Lucy Calkins- I will do better with writing workshop this year. I didn't have some of the mentor texts, and that became a problem. Plus, grad school got a little crazy. Seriously.
I wanted to direct your attention to who is a fantastic teacher and blogger for Scholastic. In this post by Beth, she discusses how she uses word study in her classroom. It's an amazingly detailed guided and a great resource. However... it's for 3rd grade. So I'm looking to adapt her program and Words Their Way to fit the needs of my firsties.
Last year I also purchased the companion book but I need to get this one: Thankfully it's only $15. And it comes chock full of activities! Pretty good deal if you ask me.
So, here is a breakdown of word study for those of you who are not familiar with it:
-All students are administered the Words Their Way Spelling Inventory and placed in their developmental stages (Beth also adds a high frequency inventory, which I like.)
-Students have spelling buddies, word work folders, and center activities that are developmentally appropriate to learning spelling rules
-Hands on spelling sorts by meaning or spelling pattern is another essential part. Words for the sorts and activities can be found in the supplemental companion books.
Now, we have the district mandated Scott-Foresman Reading Street Program for our spelling words. I want to emphasize that I'm not throwing that out the window. I am going to evaluate the Scott-Foresman spelling lists by patten/rule and then use those words all week in our spelling sorts. Every Monday I give a pre-test; we grade this together as a class. All pencils must be placed in their pencil box, inside their desks. Next, each student holds up a red checking crayon to signal they are ready to start. I quickly write the words on the board. Finally, students bring their grade lists up to me as I call them by number (1-5, 6-10, 11-15, 16-20). I look over their work, make sure it is correct and hasn't been "tampered" with and staple either the regular list or the challenge list to their pre-test.
I also really love how Beth has her students paired up to do the last part of the test: writing a sentence with each of their high-frequency words (5 total). I say their own because each student's list is different depending on which words they are working on that week. I am still struggling with how to adapt this down to first grade.... maybe give the same high frequency words to the entire class in the fall and then just introduce the individualized component after Christmas? I'm open to ideas.
Here is the basis for this post: the Words Their Way book & DVD + CD for only $30. Not too shabby! The CD also has printables.
I am very interested in hearing how other primary teachers are delivering spelling/word study instruction. If you have any ideas, please feel free to comment!!!!
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