Easy Classroom Word Work Routine
I've just finished uploading a ton of word work resources on my Teachers Pay Teachers page and I'm wiped!
Before I take a break, I wanted to share my plans for word work this year so you can get some inspiration to simplify your word work routine and prep for the whole year in just a couple hours.
So, my routine centers around the Words Their Way resource. I have the third edition books, which just came out in the past year. Here are links in case you need them:
Once you have the books, you'll want to do a few sorts from each book just to get a feel for how the program works and what to expect as you're teaching. After that, you'll just be referencing the corresponding teacher notes for each sort throughout the year.
I also set up an easy to use copy resource. Basically, I just make one copy of each of the sort pages from the books to use as my master copy. I also print out one page of each of my word search resource (more on that in a bit). These go into a binder in order together (sort 1, search 1, sort 2, search 2, etc.) so it's easy to make copies as the year goes on.
At the start of the year, you'll give your students the spelling inventory from Words Their Way and then sort them into groups based on the results. I usually end up with 3-4 groups, but you could do even more.
This year, my co-teacher and I have decided to split up this task, so I'll only have 2-3 groups. We've also decided not to do word study on Wednesdays since these are a short day for us. Instead students will do word work as their morning work on Wednesdays.
Our schedule will be something like this:
In addition, students will have time to work on their word work every Wednesday morning. We imagine this schedule will require about 20 minutes per day each day except Wednesdays. Notice one of us will take two groups of the students who need the most help and see them three times every six days. The other teacher will take the three groups who are farthest ahead and only see them twice every six days. We're hoping that this will allow the students who are struggling with this skill more meaningful teacher time, while the students who excel get a little more autonomy.
Obviously our classroom is unique, since we have two teachers, but we also have 36 students, so you can definitely figure out a schedule that works for you!
We plan to work in six day rotations (excluding Wednesdays), so we basically finish a sort every week and a half. This allows us not to rush through any of the sorts trying to get them done in one week, and lets us keep moving even when we don't have 5-day school weeks.
Our students work out of notebooks. They start on the "search/prep" day doing these things:
1. Find at least six words in your word search. Do you see a pattern?
2. Cut out your words.
3. Write your name or initials on the back of each word.
4. Sort your words – do your best!
After meeting with us for the mini-lesson on the second day of their rotation, they complete a series of activities. These activities can be completed during Wednesday morning work or during word work time (when they aren't meeting with us). We haven't talked yet about whether we'll allow students to work on these tasks during other times throughout the week (i.e. centers, free read, free write, etc.)
1. Write your words. My co-teacher calls this "read, say, cover, write, check" or something ridiculously long. You can require a certain number of each word. Whatever you want.
2. Sort your words again. This time as fast as you can.
3. Write sentences using ten of your words.
4. Complete the word search that goes with your word list and glue it into your notebook.
5. Write a story using at least six of your words.
6. When you have done all the steps above you can play word work games using your words.
On the last day of the rotation, students complete these tasks:
1. Just before the mini-assessment, sort your words one last time.
2. Glue your words, sorted, into your notebook.
3. Take the mini-assessment.
My co-teacher and I do assessment differently. She checks for all the words in the sort, I do a shorter assessment with some words they haven't had on their lists all week (but that follow the same pattern). The point is to keep students accountable and to have a method to check in and make sure students are progressing. Words Their Way also has assessments for each unit you can use.
So, that's it! That's the whole process.
If you're interested in the word searches I created, check out the bundled resource of all 242 word searches here. Remember! These align to the third edition of the Words Their Way books.
I specifically created these to provide opportunities to students to search for and recognize spelling patterns. It's a nice intro activity and gives students something to continue working on throughout the week. I use the half-sheet size so students can glue them into their notebooks. I also use the ones without a word bank, so students have to utilize their sorts, but all options are available in the download.
As always, please let me know if you have any questions!
Happy Word Working!
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