Spelling & Word Work

At the beginning of the year I do the spelling assessment from Words Their Way. I usually do the primary test at the beginning of the year.
Then, I group my kids based on where they fall with what they need to work on- Consonants, Short Vowels, Digraphs/Blends, Long Vowel Patterns.

 (On the left is the assessment sheet- I highlight each part they get right. On the right is a child’s test.)
I differentiate my spelling homework and the kids all practice whatever spelling pattern they are on for the week. Then on Fridays, I give 4-5 different tests, depending on the # of groups.
I use the book Essential Word Sorts to get my spelling words for the week.
It’s definitely a great system that I have down pat now! :)
My kids’ absolute favorite choice for the Daily Five is Word Work. I don’t know why, but they just love practicing their spelling words for the week!
 I really like my word work set up too, mainly because it stays the same all year! The words change weekly for the kids, but the prep for me is minimal. I might take an activity away for a couple of weeks and then bring it back to create some excitement, but really it’s as easy as pulling a box away and putting it out of reach.
My kids have word work journals that they keep in their desks. So when they choose word work, they get their journal and a box, and then find a bubble space on the floor or at their desk.

On the 1st day of word work, students always have to sort their words. When I put the lists out, they look like this:

Students have to make the sort in their journals (this really saves on paper each week!)

After that, they can choose one of these:
1. magnetic letters (make the word, write the word)
2. ink stamps (stamp the word, write the word)
3. letter beads/pipe cleaners (make the word, write the word)
4. Magna-doodles (write the word on the magna doodle, write the word in journal)
5. Keyboards (type the word, write the word)
6. Letter tiles (make the word, write the word)
7. Play-doh stamps (stamp the word, write the word)

If they do ALL their words using one of the above choices, THEN they write their words 3 times each. If they finish that, then they can use each word in a sentence (not many kids get to that step because my rotations are only 12-15 minutes, depending on the group I am seeing).

What I like about this setup/why I choose to do it this way:
-it is differentiated: every kid has their own list of words with the skill they are working on
-there are so many choices, they don’t get bored
-I can easily check 5-6 journals quickly during clean up and pull the ones that I don’t think did their best & they do it later (this really cuts down on playing when they find out they have to do it during recess or computer lab)
-there is hardly any prep work for me, other than getting lists ready
-minimal paper usage
-all their word work is in 1 place for the whole year
What do you think? How do you run word work? What do you like about it? What do you not like about it?

6 thoughts on “Spelling & Word Work

  1. My kiddos love word work, too! Right now my options are, letter stamps, letter stencils, cursive writing, keyboarding, and crayola wild notebooks. I print out their spelling lists in cursive (from Spelling City) and put them in sheet protectors. They grab a dry erase marker and trace the words…helps with spelling AND cursive! WOO! I found a colored wild notebook by Crayola at Target on clearance and decided to try it out. It comes with an invisible ink pen that works "magically" with the paper in comes with to show different colors. About 2 weeks later, I found black wild notebooks that came with metallic pens. My kids LOVE those! They're really into the keyboards, too, but I'm taking them away for awhile (this was the first week they got to use them) because too many kids are using them INCORRECTLY! Imagine that! I've heard such great things about words their way…I hope my district eventually goes that route instead of the basal story lists…

    The Journey of a Beginning Teacher

  2. Thanks for these awesome Word Work ideas for my first graders. I love it that you have them do their word work in journals and therefore SAVE PAPER!! :) My kids loved the activities I had last year, but I like that you have different activities and that you have other activities for them to do after they practice ALL their works..
    Thank you! Linda

  3. Linda- the saving paper was definitely the driving factor! I love not having a bunch of papers turned in and passed back. Thanks so much for reading!! :)

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