Sunday, July 21, 2013

Developmental Word Study

My school uses the Words Their Way program by Marcia R. Invernizzi, Francine R. Johnston, Donald R. Bear, and Shane Templeton. 

Since I am 4th Grade, these are the editions that I use so that the wide range of needs of my readers/spellers are met.










Last year, we also started using Mindful of Words: Spelling and Vocabulary Explorations 4-8 (Solving Problems in the Teaching of Literacy) by Kathy Ganske.  This adds a little more of the "word study/vocabulary" piece to the spelling.




I spent the last couple of years tweaking my small group word study and word study packets for independent learning.  Basically, I usually end up with 3-4 spelling groups after I give the beginning of the year pretest. 

Some things I found that do NOT work for my students:
  • Weekly spelling tests: Students were "memorizing" words just long enough to pass the test and them misspelling the same words in their writing.  Plus, it takes a lot of class time to give a spelling test.
  • Assigning spelling packets for homework. 
Some things I found that DO work:
  • Have a packet that explicitly tells students what to do each day during independent word study time.
  • Keeping one plastic baggy for "this week's words" and one for "old words"
  • Pulling words from the "old words" baggy randomly to see which words need to be practiced
  • Holding students accountable for words learned during word study in their writing



This is a sample weekly independent word study packet and the small group rotation schedule.

The packet includes 5 days of activities to be done independently after all the words have been introduced in small group. The rotation schedule is meant to keep the groups "flowing" so that not all students are doing the same activity and thus, have access to all materials as needed.

The packet addresses the vocabulary/writing, as well as the spelling practice components of word study.





This is the basic weekly schedule:

Day 1

Group 1: (lowest group): Introduction of sort and activities in packet (15 minutes)

Group 2: (2nd lowest group): Introduction of sort and activities in packet (15 minutes)

Day 2

Group 3: (middle group): Introduction of sort and activities in packet (15 minutes)

Group 4: (highest group): Introduction of sort and activities in packet (15 minutes)

Day 3

Group 1: Check-in: clarification of sort, meaning of words, activity expectations (5-10 minutes)

Group 2: Check-in: clarification of sort, meaning of words, activity expectations (5-10 minutes)

Day 4

Group 3: Check-in: clarification of sort, meaning of words, activity expectations (5-10 minutes)

Group 4: Check-in: clarification of sort, meaning of words, activity expectations (5-10 minutes)

Day 5

All groups: open agenda (usually answering questions as a whole group)

Packet collection schedule (provided there was a full 5 days for them to complete the activities):

Groups 1 & 2: Mondays

Groups 3 & 4: Tuesdays
 
You can pick up a FREE copy by clicking here.
 
What about you?  Do you use anything similar to this?  How do you run it?

 
 
 

3 comments:

Miss Emily said...

Hi!
I am very greatful for this post. I am the 3rd grade teacher at my school and a few years back I observed a classroom using this program. I want to bring it to my classroom(the 4th grade teacher does too, we are a small school 1 class per grade)but have no clue where to start. Those 3 books look good. I wondered if you ever had some time could you email me, I have a few questions about it.
Thanks
Emily
eheynach@gmail.com

Heather said...

I would be happy to help in any way that I can. I'm always interested in learning new things together with other teachers!

Theresa said...

This is great!