Getting Ready for Word Work

For the last few weeks, I have been doing whole-class word work lessons to try to give some foundations to get us started this year.  We have studied the number words, the days of the week, the months of the year, and now–finally–the idea that big words are composed of multiple syllables.  If we can HEAR the syllables and spell each one reasonably well, we will do a good job when we want to write big words.  Next week we start our small groups of word work that are geared toward “just right” level.  We use Words Their Way, but really these ideas could work for any spelling/word study program or curriculum.  I really believe in word STUDY. I think it’s critical that we help students “unlock” this ridiculous language of ours!  Memorizing 15 words to spell on Friday simply isn’t going to make a difference for most students.

 I told my students that I have only two spelling rules:

1.  Spell all high-frequency words correctly (I assessed these last week and sent a list of errors home for students to work on).
2.  Spell all other words with every syllable in order and with every sound in every syllable.
This at least makes all words recognizable.  I’d rather have “fantastick” than “fatnsatic”.  Know what I mean?
To get us ready, this week I introduced the practice menu I made and have been using for the last few years.  I wanted a way for students to have fun, low-stress ways to practice and interact with their words–even if there was no adult to help them.
I pulled all the students together and we brought our word tubs (we use little plastic containers to house our words in our desk) which had the big words related to geography that we used for our syllables lesson.  NOTE:  These words are WAY above the level for many of my students…they were practice words and not assessed.  I went through each of the practice activities on the page and the students got the opportunity to TRY each one with those practice words.  I am hopeful that it will be better cemented in their minds because they tried it with me.
Writing each syllable a different color…very visual and stresses hearing those sounds in order. It also reminds students to look for those vowel sounds.
This activity asks students to sort their words in order from most challenging for them to least challenging.  I love how this one makes them really focus on the words they are struggling with the most.
Triangle spelling!  I have been doing this one for years and it’s one of my students’ favorites.  I love how it forces them to watch the sequence of the letters unfold.
Word study has always been an organizational nightmare for me, so I hope this year runs a little more smoothly!  I am hopeful that my two spelling “rules” will keep my students focused.  They were all super excited to practice spelling big words with me…the paying attention to syllables idea was VERY new to many of them.

Want a copy of my menu?

CLICK HERE to grab it.

Just wanted to let you know that I did finish a little something new that I am super proud of .  I’ll blog about it later…but it’s one sale through tonight so I thought I’d let you know.  I’d love for you to check out how we practiced “precision” this week in my class!
Click HERE to check it out in more detail!
Have a great weekend…but MAKE SURE to stop back here tomorrow for an amazing opportunity for you!