We will be using "Word Journeys" ... soon. There are long lists of words to choose from based on an assessment. Kids receive little cards with spelling words (prepared by teacher) to do word sorts. Any information on how you've managed this program would help. It is intimidating ... for sure. We received a three ring binder today and are expected to have this up and running by the third week in September. Help! Please!!
I have used it in my classroom. I really like the program. Using the assessment you can identify which areas of spelling each individual child needs help on. I used it in fourth grade for 3 months and saw improvement. The students seem to really enjoy the program also.
I used a file folder system to keep all of the groups separate. If you look on the web, you should be able to find pre-made word sorts that follow the Word Journeys program. Setting it up and making copies will take some time.
Dr. Ganske recommended to us as her students to purchase "Words Their Way." It comes with a CD rom and has all the word sorts and activities you will need for every feature that you are teaching. It takes time to get all these together, but using the Words Their Way book helps a great deal.
Shouts, do you mean that Dr. Ganske said that she got her ideas from Words Their Way authors? That could be the case; however, I do not like the way their WTW uses the DSA/features, etc. The book and CD have lots of word sorts and games, though. I have to tell you that her class was the best education class I ever had. I would sing her praises from here to the end of the world. I've seen her Word Journeys in action at several schools in the surrounding area. Oh, I forgot to mention, that she just published a book with word sorts to go along with Word Journeys. I believe that Dr. Ganske wanted to focus on being able to assess children, that's why her book focuses on assessment. Here's the link for her new book:
We are going to use Word Journeys this year for the first time. Grades prek through 12 in our district. We had inservice about it on Friday. The two presenters had already used it in their classrooms. This is sort of the plan for us. We will spend at least the first week and prob the second week getting the assessments out of the way. We were told that once the assessing is done, students are likely to remain in their word study "stage" (for teaching purposes) for the entire year. So you will only do this assessment once the entire year. The stages are: Emergent spelling, letter name spelling, within word spelling, syllable juncture spelling, or derivational constancy spelling. The program is laid out then, as to what sequence to follow within each stage.
I am going to implement the program by:
1. Assessing to find stage
2. Determine small groups based on assessments. Students are grouped together based on their stage and the apparent weaknesses in certain subskills within that stage. ( A nicer way to say that is that there is a need for the selected students to have more experience with certain subskills(determined from the assessments. )
3. Small group instruction is based on word sorts. Students get the list of words you have chosen with similar spelling focus (for example see page 151 in word journeys.) Then they cut them apart and sort them into 3 columns. I am going to do the first word sort with teacher assistance. For example... have two or threee "key" words. Then take another word from the cut apart list. Where do you think this one should go. With this word or here? Why do you think that? what is different about that word... what is the same? I have to read further, but apparently there are many ways to do sorts... a blind sort, timed "beat the clock" sort, sort with aid from the teacher, beat the teacher sort. All this sorting stuff is giving them experience with the words and the rule that goes with it.
4. While I am working with a small group , approx 10 minutes.... the other students are working on some other spelling related activity with their words... such as word hunt through books, use alphabet stampers to stamp out the words, put the words in alphabetical order, write sentences with the words, making a word search with the words, etc. (possibly some other ideas in the Word Journeys book?)
I think I will like it once I get started. I have heard that students LOVE it! and that even 8th graders are doing it and happy with it.
The presenters we had told us that each teacher can decide how to get a grade for spelling. One suggestion was to give a blind sort test...write the words in one of the columns as I say them to you. I was wondering for myself whether I could score it as you do the subskills test.... by giving 2 points if the entire word is spelled correctly, and 1 if just the targeted pattern or rule is correct. or it is either wrong or right as on a typical spelling test.
I'm so glad your school is doing word journeys. I'm going to try to get our school to adopt this; especially since our principal had Dr. Ganske as well. We're just piloting guided reading in 2nd grade, so we're not doing anything else new. However, one of the other second grade teachers and myself will be doing the DSA on the children to see where they are. It is my hope that when I do this, their level in spelling will pertain to their guided reading level so that I can work with my groups on both.
Just make sure you model, model, model the sounds/features and the words and do a WORD WALK first. This is how Dr. Ganske designed her program. You should sound out the words while doing the sort separately for each group. For example, mmmmaaaapppp, I think I'll place map under man because it has the same mmmmmmmmm sound." Also, the program was not designed to keep children in the same stage, if there is growth, they should move on. That is the whole purpose, unless you are working with children who are already in the derivational constancy stage, which is the last. If children stay in the same stage, they won't grow. There are only five features in each stage, so they should move on and you should see enormous growth.
Have fun with word journeys. If you need help with word sorts, etc., let me know.