Sunday, April 22, 2012

Words Their Way.... How did I get myself into this?

I'm going to put it out there right now.... it's confession time.  I'm a sucker for extra unpaid responsibilities.  If there is a pilot that needs to be done, I'm your girl.  Organizing standardized testing 3 times per year, me too.  Serving on any and all committees in which I'm asked- yep.  Developing and training other teachers on our districts next word study program... sure, why not.  I LOVE me a good Power Point and the feeling of more experienced teachers than me staring, wishing I was giving them Starbucks and pastries instead.  I REALLY need to close my mouth sometimes.  And definitely NOT get sucked in by my Literacy Coach (although I totally love her and her smart, manic, and crazy mind!).  Anyway....

Although I have been using Words Their Way for the last 5 years, I was never trained in it or formally told to use it.  It just made sense to me, being the hands-on kinda girl I am.  If you are not familiar, here is the book that can get you started:

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The method combines spelling, phonics and word study into one, happy program.  This is NOT, however, for the teacher looking for a canned program.  There are assessments that must be done and the teaching/support/student work is all individualized to fit your students' needs.

How does it work?
An initial assessment/inventory is given to all students.  From there, the teacher uses a feature chart to grade and put together learning groups based on needs.  Once the students are in groups (I limit to no more than 4 in one class), they will sort pictures or words into sound and spelling patterns.  This will teach the students to find the patterns, manipulate word concepts and apply critical thinking skills.  Even irregular spelling patterns in our language!  There are separate books of sorts to support each spelling stage.  You can give spelling tests, but it's really not needed.  There are built in assessments at certain points throughout the program to readjust groups, based on growth. 

I'm in the middle of the Power Point right now, so I'll have more to share as I go on.  This was just a taste of what is to come.

2 comments:

  1. A neighboring school district uses this as their spelling program. I actually got to meet one of the authors, Donald Bear, last summer while he was in town doing a presentation. He was signing books and when I gave him my old version of the Words Their Way book he commented, "Wow, this is an old version. It has lots of mistakes in it!" I haven't seen this version, so I will have to check it out.
    Connie
    www.welcometofirstgraderoom5.blogspot.com

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  2. Thanks for the info :) We ended up purchasing the newest version for that reason. I figured there must be a reason they updated it!

    Thanks for stopping by!

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