Monday, November 12, 2012

Let's Talk About Word Study...
For the past few years, we've been using Words Their Way as our primary spelling approach. This approach to spelling instruction has been eye opening. Before receiving training in, and using Words Their Way, I tried bits and pieces of it when I could. Throughout my graduate courses in reading, I learned about Words Their Way and couldn't wait to try some parts of the program (the parts I could mesh with our previous spelling program that consisted of...pretest, practice list of words, test, repeat). I even bought three separate Words Their Way sort books so I would have them in my professional library. You can imagine my surprise when our building principal announced that we were going to be using Words Their Way the following year. And, guess what showed up in all of our mailboxes? Yes, the main Words Their Way book with the three separate books I had purchased. I now keep a set at home and at school. 

So, I finally got the hang of it last year. By "hang of it", I mean I felt I had all the routines down and I truly understood this developmentally appropriate/differentiated approach to spelling instruction. 

I've included some of the ways I organize my groups and the spelling test paper I use. In the classroom, I post a 6-day routine on chart paper. Since I have three spelling groups, I put each group name on a post-it and each day I rotate the post-its down. I call them "A", "B", and "C"...I know they're super creative names. It's very simple and organized. By the way, as with everything, setting up the routines takes a lot of practice at the beginning of the year, but it's worth it!

I've also started incorporating each group's targeted spelling skill(s) into our morning message or brainstorming words that contain a certain feature (ex: -at words) on a chart. I make a big deal about how a certain spelling group is learning words like that, and I post the word charts. 

We (the great teachers I work with) use the same Feature Guide for the Primary Spelling Inventory. We just staple each inventory under the Feature Guide. Each time we score the inventory, we use a different highlighter or pen. Again, it's very simple (and simple is good)! 

What spelling approach do you use? If you use Words Their Way, what spelling games/activities do you use? I'm always looking for more simple, fun yet effective games/activities to use.

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