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.

WORKBOOKS

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. 

GAMES

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

SCHEDULE


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!


March 20, 2016

Sharing Sunday: Almost April!

It's almost my favorite month, April!

April is my favorite because it contains my BIRTHDAY and of course SPRING BREAK! Yippee! I also am closing on a house and attending three weddings this month which means I have lots of celebrating to do!

Hey, at least your lesson planning for April will be easy because my friends from The Primary Peach and I have done the planning for you! I've sifted through many resources and chosen my favorites to share with you.


My primary focuses for April are teaching my second graders about poetry.

Make sure to click on the pictures below to get your resources



Clicking an image will take you to a PDF file, where you can click around on the individual pictures to check out all of the blog posts and freebies. 

Make sure to head back to the Primary Peach for MORE April fun and freebies!

March 10, 2016

The Pencil Trick That Almost Worked

I HATE pencils.

Really. But pens aren't always practical.

Sometimes I think to myself that I should quit my job and invent a pencil that doesn't require sharpening, and then I remember that mechanical pencils are a thing.

Sigh. I guess I'll stick with my day job.

Honestly, though, where do all of the pencils go?

Are they hoarding them in desks and backpacks?

Do they take them home and display them in their bedrooms?

Do we have a pencil monster that's best friends with the eraser monster?

Why do they tear them up intentionally?

Do they EAT them?

I don't get it. 

It's a little infuriating.

So I decided I was going to set a great example for my students by not sharing my pencils. (sarcasm)

I had seen multiple ideas on Pinterest about how to make sure teacher pencils are clearly marked.

I picked my favorite method, opened a brand new box, and sharpened those babies.

Then I wrapped them with my favorite washi tape so that they became easily identifiable as MINE.



The kids picked up on the pencil rules quickly:

Pencils stay at the teacher table.

Pencils are only used while working at the teacher table.

Pencils are not put in mouths or ears or noses or other questionable places.

Pencil erasers should not be subject to a premature death by scissors.

They even added their own rules like ask the teacher nicely before you use one of her pencils or else she will get you.

I think they were even a little afraid of my pencils, so they started bringing their own pencils to my small group table.


It worked like a charm.

Eight whole glorious weeks went by and all of MY pencils stayed in MY caddy.

The erasers were used appropriately and only when necessary.

I never witnessed any bite marks or slobber or bodily fluids on my pencils.

I haven't even had to resharpen them yet - not once!

All was well and I was a happy teacher...



...until today.

Ahem. Today I was on an interview panel that met with a few prospective new employees.

The interviewee was in the middle of explaining what STEM meant to her when I glanced over and noticed that one of my administrators was taking notes WITH ONE OF MY PENCILS, clearly marked with teal washi tape meaning that it is not to leave the teacher table or else.

I kid you not.

The mystery is solved.

I should probably apologize to my students for blaming them.

I guess they don't eat them after all.

Now I know where all the pencils go.