March 21, 2016

Words Their Way, MY Way: Part 2

I'm baaaack!

My original blog post about running Words Their Way, called Words Their Way: MY Way, is my most-visited and most-pinned blog post EVER.

First of all, I'm totally flattered that anyone wants to read anything I have to say.

Second of all, I GET IT! Words Their Way is the monster under the bed that makes you decide that, well, you'd rather stay safely in your bed than risk getting out of it.

I love Words Their Way - don't get me wrong - but it can be completely overwhelming and consuming if you don't have an attack plan.

Thus, I present to you...

If you were directed here from my first post, thanks for reading! If you haven't read Part 1 yet, I suggest you start there first.

Let's dig in!

As many of you know, I started at a new school this year.

My new school does use Words Their Way, but I have had to change up my routine a bit to best fit my new classroom.


First of all, my school provides these awesome workbooks for each student:

How lucky are we? 

The workbooks are leveled. Inside are the numbered sorts, which students cut out every Monday. In other words, these books completely eliminate copying or printing different sorts every week and having to keep up with which group is on which sort! 

For each sort, there is also a sorting page and a writing page. Students use the sorting page to practice sorting their words all week. On Fridays, they glue the words down so that they are permanently sorted in their workbooks to refer back to when needed. 

If you don't have workbooks, you should definitely ask your administration if you can get them! They are such time-savers for teachers and are beneficial for students. 


I'm not a fan of generic spelling, during which students practice writing their words in different colors. In my humble opinion, those methods are boring, mindless, and ineffective. 

I'm not a huge fan of the games that come designed for Words Their Way, because you have to create them all (print, color, cut, glue, make cards, etc.). That is a TON of work to do for a game that will only be used by one group of kids for one week. Yikes!

So, I decided to create my own line of games that can be used with ANY and ALL word sorts. 

Yep, you read that correctly: ANY sort! I have been using most of these games in my classroom for over a year now and have yet to come across a sort that didn't work.

These games are available individually in my TPT store, or at a discounted price in my Word Study Bundle

Word Master was my first versatile game for Words Their Way. It incorporates a little bit of all aspects of word study: spelling, vocabulary, and pattern generalization. I allow up to 4 kids to play together, and they love it!

Spin It! is a line of spinner games including Spin It (Classic), Write It, and Define It. Spin It includes a little bit of everything, while the other spinners target specific skills. Students can play with a partner, and some spinners can be used independently. 

Beat Me to the Peak is the new favorite in my classroom. I allow my higher-level groups to play it, because it targets word meaning rather than spelling. I allow up to 4 to play at a time, and I just think it's so cute!

My newest addition is Word Study Memory, a twist on the classic memory game. It gets students thinking critically about spelling patterns and generalizations. 

All of the games are available at a discounted price in my growing Word Study Bundle


My team runs word study on a one-week schedule, so I do things much differently than I did last year. Every day, we do word study for at 15 minutes first thing in the morning. Later in the morning, students have a "Word Work" station that they visit during Daily 5 rotations. All students get at least 30 minutes of word study in each day. 

Here is what our word study block looks like first thing each day:

Monday: Students cut out new words during morning work. Then they meet with partners in their groups to attempt sorting their words correctly. They are also supposed to make sure they know how to pronounce each word and that they know each word's meaning. During this time, I meander around the room to assist any students that need help with their initial sorts. 

Tuesday: I put a timer on the board and kids do speed sorts with partners.

Wednesday: Students do writing sorts in their word work journals for morning work, then meet with a partner to play a word study game that I created.

Thursday: Students do blind writing sorts with partners to prepare for their quizzes. 

Friday: I give word study quizzes in leveled groups. 

Quiz papers are an exclusive product available only in my Word Study Bundle!

Students get to pick how they practice their words during Word Work time when we do Daily 5. They can practice writing words in their notebooks, or they can practice sorting, or they can pull materials from the bucket, including my games!

There you have it. 

If you are looking for more ideas about how to ORGANIZE and IMPLEMENT Words Their Way, please go read Words Their Way, MY Way (Part 1) where I explain all of my organization in depth. 

Questions? Ask in a comment below and I'll get back to you!

Please follow along on InstagramFacebookPinterest, and TPT for more ideas to make your teaching life a little happier!


  1. This is amazing, thank you for sharing! I have 2 questions: Where did you get the WTW books? Do you give a spelling test on Friday to have the students spell all of the words from that week (some lists have 20+ words) and do they write these words on their groups that they sorted them (appears this way in the photo above)?

    1. Hi Tara!

      The books were ordered for us by our administration. I love them, as they are such a time-saver for me, and would strongly suggest you ask your administration for them! They are available for purchase on the Words Their Way website. I did the math once, and it ends up being about $10 per book.

      And about the assessments... that's a great question. This year I have been giving my groups 10 words from their sort to spell. They do not know which 10 words they are going to be assessed on. And yes, I have them sort them as part of the assessment. Each word is worth 2 points: 1 point for being spelled correctly, and 1 for being sorted correctly. So each quiz is out of 20.

      Thanks so much for reading!

  2. I bought the Words Their Way free to do whatever I want for spelling this year. Although it looks like a lot of work, I think I'm going to try it. So each group has a different test on Fridays? How do they get the words home? Thanks so much...I am buying your bundle on TPT! :-)

    1. Hi Melissa, THANK YOU! It is a lot of work to begin with, but I seriously think it is so worth it! Yes, each group has a different test on Fridays. Last year, my kids kept their words in baggies and took them home to sort for homework every night. This year, however, my kids wrote their words in their agendas so they could practice at home if they wanted. We had plenty of time in class to practice and master the words, so I made at-home practice optional. Let me know if you have any more questions! Thank you!

  3. Hi:-) Thanks so much for this post. I was wondering when ordering for first grade. Do you order all level A workbooks or wait until the kids are tested to see what level workbook to order?


Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your input!