Words Their Way

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by DrivingPigeon, Dec 23, 2013.

  1. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Dec 23, 2013

    This year is my 3rd year using WTW. I know many teachers have shared their success with the program, but I feel like my students don't always make the progress I would expect.

    I gave the spelling inventory at the beginning of the year, and my students fell into 3 groups: middle alphabetic, late alphabetic, and early within words. I gave the inventory again just before winter break, and most of my students (12) fell into the beginning within words stage. Many of these students were in this stage at the beginning of the year. I had some students (5) move to the middle within words stage, and some in the late alphabetic.

    Because the year is almost half over, and most of my students stayed the same (and a few regressed), I'm wondering what I'm doing wrong. Here is what my students are currently doing:
    -I introduce the words to 1 group at a time. I follow the recommendations in the book for how to introduce each sort. They then cut out their words and sort them independently.
    -Each morning, they have a specific activity to do with their words (blind sort, buddy sort, written sort, etc.).
    -They practice their words during Daily 5 word work time 1-2 times per week.
    -I give them an assessment each week on 10 random words.
    -I do not assign spelling homework, but they do take their words home every night, and are encouraged to practice them.

    Does anyone have any recommendations?
     
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  3. Loveslabs

    Loveslabs Companion

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    Dec 24, 2013

    I have been teaching spelling this way for a few years. I usually find the biggest growth is between January and May. Check to see if your students truly understand the difference between consonants and vowels. Shockingly, many students do not understand the difference. Also, check to see if they realize uppercase and lowercase letters make the same sound. Imagine my shock when I discovered they thought they made different sounds. This usually occurs with my lowest readers.
    Finally, ask them if they know why you are studying the words this way. Ask them if they know how learning the words this way can help them in other ways. Again, what a shock when I realized they didn't understand how learning the patterns help them spell, read, and write. I always have a few that don't understand that knowing CVCe with long a means they know the CVCe pattern with other vowels.
    Also, watch their reading and writing. Are they starting to apply what they have learned? If not, it is time to stop and work it into a writing/reading mini lesson.
     
  4. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    Dec 26, 2013

    I only did this in 1st grade, so I don't really remember- at that stage are the kids still doing picture sorts?
     
  5. Youngteacher226

    Youngteacher226 Enthusiast

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    Jan 1, 2014

    I hate to be the bearer of bad news but WTW without supplemental teaching does not work. For years I used to do just WTW, with the recommended sorts/activities and it wasn't effective for the students I was teaching. Year after year, I was unhappy with the student's progress. Until I finally took it upon myself to change something. I was inspired by Beth Newingham's spelling program she did in her room. Check it out here. I then used what she was doing and decided to "teach" more into the spelling patterns and rules each week. I did a whole group lesson on Monday and had each word study group doing diff. things throughout the week. I still grouped my students by ability levels but I seen way more progress doing it this way. I picked the pattern for the week (ex. long i patterns) and everyone in the class worked on that. Every day for about 5 min. we would review the pattern for the week and everyone would go to their respective groups and work. I have to say, by spring, all the students were moving into "Syllables/Affixes" and "Derivational" stages.
     
  6. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Jan 1, 2014

    This is exactly what I have been noticing, and would like to switch over to. My district does not have any type of phonics program-not even a scope and sequence. My team has decided to purchase some of the Orton Gillingham materials, and spend about 20 minutes each day teaching various patterns.

    I was just thinking the other day how it would be nice to have my spelling groups align with the skill that we will be focusing on that week, which sounds exactly like what you are doing!
     
  7. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    Jan 3, 2014

    65% of your students will make a year's progress with no formal spelling program. You only need to have high expectations for final draft writing projects and do a lot of writing.

    I was inspired to throw out our district's spelling program by reading this blog post and some follow up research.

    I found myself unable to completely pull the plug on any sort of spelling program, so I only required spelling work from my students who had more than 20% misspelled words on a rough draft journal entry. This is the 35% who will not make a year's progress without a spelling program.

    I tried this last year and my students got nearly the same scores on the end-of-the-year test.
     
  8. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Jan 3, 2014

    Very interesting!
     
  9. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    Jan 7, 2014

    Imagine for a minute that you had an extra 90 minutes per week for literacy since you are not spending time doing WTW or some other published spelling program.

    Your students reading something wonderful for an extra 90 minutes?
     

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