Saturday, October 6, 2012

Words Their Way Q & A

As a district representative, I get a lot of questions.  This is our first year of EVERYONE implementing the Words Their Way program.  Here are a few common questions that I've gotten over the last few weeks and since I posted last week:

I inventoried my students and analyzed the data, now what?

Organize your students’ results on a class composite in order to create groups (no more than three groups- recommended number, not required). 

Lower Elementary Example:
In September, a 1st grade teacher grouped her students into three groups: Early/Mid Letter Name, Mid/Late letter Name, and Early Within Word Patterns.
  • For her Early/ Mid LS group, she is starting them with the Letter Name Unit 2: Short Vowels in Word Families.
  • For her Mid/Late LS group, she is starting them with the Letter Name Unit 3: Digraphs.
  • For her Early WWP group, she is starting them with Within Word Patterns Unit 3: Blends.
For students that are…
·    Higher functioning outliers (such as Common Long Vowels group), she is pulling them as an enrichment group for teaching.  She technically has 4 groups, but this group moves slower through the complex patterns.  This is not her first year teaching the program.
·    Lower functioning outliers (none in this class currently), can be blended in with another first grade class group (original plan before students were actually assessed).  You are encouraged to work together as a team in order to best meet your students’ needs.
*This teacher does not give spelling tests, but rather the WTW assessments to ensure proper growth and development.

Do all of my groups need to be on the same schedule?  How do I fit in the closed sort teaching time?
There are a number of ways that you can schedule your time.  There is no perfect fit for everyone.  Some teachers will pull groups during a “literacy station/ center” time or in place of guided reading one day (over the two-week sort cycle).  We have also read where teachers do a staggered start.  It may look like this:
1
 2
3
4
5
6
7
Day 1
Open sort
Day 2
Instruction & closed sort
Day 3
Closed sort with a buddy or individual speed sort
Day 4
Closed sort, speed sort with a buddy, write sentences
Day 5
Word Hunt
Day 6
Game Day
Day 7
Assessment
Day 7
Assessment
Day 1
Open sort
Day 2
Instruction & closed sort
Day 3
Closed sort with a buddy or individual speed sort
Day 4
Closed sort, speed sort with a buddy, write sentences
Day 5
Word Hunt
Day 6
Game Day
Day 6
Game Day
Day 7
Assessment
Day 1
Open sort
Day 2
Instruction & closed sort
Day 3
Closed sort with a buddy or individual speed sort
Day 4
Closed sort, speed sort with a buddy, write sentences
Day 5
Word Hunt

The best advice is to play around with it and see what works for you and your students.


What should we expect parents to do at home?
This may vary by building and/or grade.  Some schools routinely give a certain amount of homework, while others expect reading or work not completed at school to be done at home. This is a teacher/ building decision.  Sorts and supplemental activities can be done at home for extra practice.  The initial open sort and the closed sort teaching must be done in the classroom.  The teacher will be supporting the students through these initial activities.  This is a time where misconceptions/ misdirection can be addressed.  Informal assessments (you may notice a struggling student) are done during this time.  Often, we will do this without noting it because it is part of what we routinely do with other activities (like noticing a hole in a child’s math skills).  The same goes for finding patterns in words.




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