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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Tutorial Tuesday: Words Their Way

Hello, this is Beth Ann from Taming My Flock of Firsties.

I wanted to thank Lori for letting me guest blog on Tutorial Tuesday. What a great idea!

Words Their Way came into our classrooms one Monday morning. "This is what you are going to use for your Spelling program." Hmmmm?
The first and second grade teachers all got together and "learned" what this program was about. Some teachers took the initiative to dive right in so that others could learn from their expertise. It's a good thing we have some penguins in our school. :)
Now that we have been using it for two years, we have all embraced it.

Once you get into it, you will LOVE it!

One of my colleagues developed a system for each day. We pretty much followed by the book but we tweaked some things to make it our own.

Monday: Hand out sorts.
Discuss with groups.

This is the part they love.

Name: They write their names REALLY BIG on the back of their sorts.

Scribble: They scribble...really, on the back (this is usually a lighter color than their name).

Highlight: They highlight their features.

Cut: They cut out their sorts.

Sort: They sort their sorts.

There is usually a lot of discussion going on about connections and other things they have found.

After they have sorted they put their sorts into their baggies and off they go to Daily 5.
They are given two copies (one for home and one for school).
I send home a little note each day in the beginning to explain what the parents should be doing each day.

Tuesday: Speed Sort
I have found that my firsties have a really hard time reading the clock in our room...really???
I put a timer on the Smart Board and we all do the speed sort together.
The timer counts up and when they are finished they record their time on their sheet.

Click on the image to download a copy for you.
I have to explain to them that their sorts are not the same. They are comparing their time from before and not to compare other students with their time. It worked pretty well for me this year. If they beat their time from before, they get a sticker on their page. :) I LOVE stickers!

Wednesday: Buddy Sort
They find someone in their sorting group.
I broke their groups up into berries this year (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, etc.). When they find someone, they work together to "quiz" each other. "What word would go in this feature?" "Where does this word belong?"

Thursday: Word Hunt
Using their Daily 5 Read to Self  bags, they have to find words that go along with their features. I started out with trying to find 10 of each. Boy, was that a nightmare! I finally figured out that what worked best for the students and me was to go through all the books (there are only eight) and try to find some words that fit in the features. If they cannot find any (which happens a lot), they can look at the word wall or try to think of some words that would go with that feature.

Friday: Test
The students sort their words and then glue them into their Spelling Journals. After the entire group was finished with this I would call them back for some extra testing. 
I would give them 5 words to spell (from their features) and a bonus word (maybe an oddball word).

The kids really looked forward to Spelling.
They made some great progress.
We have them take a pre-test to see where they fit in groups and then a post-test to see how much they have grown.
I enjoy this program so much! 

If you have any questions or suggestions, please email me at

Have a wonderful day!