Well, with the beginning of a new school year starting and then not having internet at my house for a while, I have missed my blog!
I have had a great start to the school year so far. I am excited about this being the second year of using Common Core… It feels more familiar. Familiar always leads to a wider variety of ideas and fun activities because I am more comfortable in what I’m teaching. It would be so much easier for me each year if only I would just use the same ideas in the same way…I definitely hold on to the gems that work so well from year to year, but- let’s face it- I live in a Pinterest world and I’m a Pinterest girl. Is that song stuck in your head now?! I just LOVE LOVE LOVE other people’s ideas and trying new things.
If you know me, then you also know I LOVE Daily 5. I’m leading somewhere with this… stick with me here…
Last year I struggled with figuring out the best way to teach spelling. We use Words Their Way word sorts. I like the way it’s set up, but it can get confusing. Their might be 3 or more spelling lists going on in your class at one time, according to what level of phonics and spelling instruction the children need. I did find it helpful to use Word Work in the Daily 5 time to allow the different groups time to learn and practice their words. But, I still didn’t feel like the kids got the connection between the list of words and the skill that they were supposed to focus on. I couldn’t seem to find the time every day to let them sort and explore the word sorts. Most importantly, I didn’t always see the skill from each list transfer to their writing… where they are supposed to use it!
This year, I did the spelling inventory and I am starting with three Word Sort lists in my room. I put the students into groups and made a BIG deal about our special spelling groups. I let them choose an animal name for their group. Every morning, they meet somewhere in the room (on the floor, at a table, etc) and spend about 10 minutes practicing their words together. Even though I haven’t begun to teach them about the Word Work part of Daily 5, I am using these morning spelling groups to begin to introduce the students to some of the Word Work choices (although they don’t know that yet).
Yesterday, the Jaguars all chose a Wipe Off Word Work activity- dry erase markers, plastic plates, and eraser socks OR wipe off iPhones and iPods… see the connection below for this great idea!
The Kittens worked together on Act It Out Word Work- a pack of cards that give the students fun actions or voices to do as they spell their words: pirate spelling, strike a pose, baby talk, etc… see below!
The Horses shared the Stamp It Word Work center- letter stamps… pretty obvious. Each of the Word Work stations has a recording sheet that goes with it where the student writes down their word with a pencil first. All three groups were working so hard and I could hear encouragement between the children. They seemed to really enjoy doing the activities together!
Today we had our first spelling test for this year… If you’ve ever given a spelling test for three different lists, I’d love to hear how you do it effectively! Last year, I would give my tests during the Friday Daily 5 time. The groups who were not taking a spelling test would be Reading to Self, Working on Writing, or Listening to Reading. I did not allow them to Read to Someone or do Word Work because they are distracting. Today, I had them choose from Read to Self or Work on Writing since those are the only ones I have introduced.
On Friday afternoons, I have the spelling groups get together and look over their tests from the morning to see how they did. Then, I give them their list of words for the next week. They spend about 10 minutes recording the new words in their Friday Folders… I told them it’s their preview. I have found that a lot of parents (especially those of struggling spellers) like to have more time with the words, so it’s up to each family whether or not they do anything with the words over the weekend, but at least they have the choice!
If my students use their spelling words in their writing during the week, we make a big deal out of it and they often get to move up on the behavior chart to Way to Go! I think academic behavior is just as important as anything else.
So that’s how I’m hoping to solve my spelling woes… I don’t ever want to do anything with my kids “just because”… I need to have a purpose… I need things to work well. What do you do for your spelling routine?