Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Words Their Way- Day 2

Welcome to Words Their Way Week!
The central part of WTW is the sorts and repeated practice of finding patterns in words.  There are two main sorts that we do (as well as a bunch of game-like sorts, which I'll talk about another day!).  Before I give the students their new papers to cut, I take off the headers that tell the spelling/ sound rule.  This way, they can explore the words/ pictures, trying to see the patterns for themselves.  This is referred to as an open sort.  There are no rules, just that they must provide an explaination of their sorting choices.
The closed sort is done with me in a small group for the first time.  This is when I am teaching them the rule to the sort.  I take the lesson right out of the supplimental sort books.
Product Details  Product Details  
Product Details  Product Details

After they try it with me once, they will go off and practice independently.  Here are a few of my sweeties doing sorts:

  • Print the sorts for each group in a different color (that matches their group name).  This will help them keep their sort cards together when working close to another student (I ask that they don't work next to the same color).
  • Be very specific about directions and take time to teach the procedures that you want in place.  It takes up time at the start, but is worth it when there is a guest teacher in the room or you are working with a student and cannot give reminders.
  • Model cutting the sort pieces into strips, then across.  This will save the students time on the cutting side (it would take all day for them to cut out each square individually- trust me!).
  • Reinforce the idea that open sorts are an exploritory time.  This may be new to some students, as they "want to be right".
  • Have a system in place for storage and show students where to put their sort bags when complete.  I use zip top bags with the students' names on them.  If they get mangled, it's easy to replace.  My friend across the hall purchased zip pouches for her students to use.  These will last for many years to come.  It just depends on your budget for items.
  • Make sure that students are either spread out around the room on the floor or abiding by the lines on their desk as a boundary.  It's a pain to reassemble complete sets of sorts once they are mixed up.  One of our kinder teachers used a ruler as a space divider on the floor between students.
Come back every day for more tips and tricks for words study!
Wednesday: Additional Activities & Practice Opportunities
Thursday: Word Work books
Friday: Game Day!


  1. My students have to use a "work mat" while sorting their cards. I just cut up olds of non-sticky white shelf liner. I also have my cards copied and laminated on card stock to save paper and time. I teach half day kindergarten and we have no time for cutting. Good idea or not?

    1. That is a perfect acommodation for the time crunch! Later in the year you may be able to have the sorts pre-cut and have the students glue them down to use for other activities and reference (like for writing/ spelling during those times). This program is very flexible and can be switched around to meet your students' needs. Keep in mind that the sorting activities are the key. As long as that is the focus, you can't go wrong :)