We’ve just started year two of Words Their Way (WTW) at our school. Managing 4-5 groups within your classroom seems like a daunting task, but with a little planning, training, and organization, it’s possible!
I have created a SMARTboard file that houses all of our activity slides. At the start of WTW, we use the first few slides to remind ourselves:
- which group students are in
- what the WTW expectations are
- what the WTW routines are
- what the WTW schedule is
It’s important to note that the schedule is flexible. While I may have four WTW groups, they may not all be doing the exact same activity each day; AND they may not move onto the next sort all at the same time. I find that it’s important to be diagnostic with my teaching. What this means is that students are observed and assessed. They move when they’re ready. This type of flexible teaching is important for student growth and development. Would it be easier to keep every student on the same schedule and to have them do the same activity and move at the same time? Of course! It’d be easier on me, but not my students. It’s not what’s best for them.
Below you can see the activity slides, with a short description.
Basic Sort (above): Students receive their new sort. They color the back (as a measure to indicate who the sort belongs to). They then cut and sort. In subsequent days I model the sort to demonstrate how it’s done (display category cards, read categories, read words out loud, sort words). We also develop vocabulary knowledge in subsequent days too!
Words in Sentences (above): Students sort their words first. Then they select at least four words and write a sentence for each. I challenge my higher level kids to find a way to write a short story with the words, so the sentences are connected and form a story!
Book Look (above): Students sort their words. They then read a familiar book and look for words that follow/have the same spelling pattern. This is definitely a challenging task, and so it’s done after a lot of modeling.
Illustrated Words (above): After sorting their words, they select at least four words and illustrate them (and add the word as a label). For students that have pictures (instead of words) for their sort, they do the same thing. They draw their word, but are then challenged to spell each word.
Sound Hop (above): This is done with me. Students either create a work mat, or I create one for them. The frog (math frog manipulative) sits in the middle on his lily pad and waits for the word to be called out. Students then listen for the “target sound” and jump to the correct quadrant.
Sound Hop w/ Video (above): Similar to the above mentioned game, but we add a video from YouTube to the routine. The video demonstrates/teaches the target sound(s) on which we’re focusing.
Blind Sort (above): After a quick sort, students participate in a blind sort. I’ve seen a couple of variations of this activity. We do blind sorts by partnering up, preferably with someone who has the same sort. Students create categories in their notebooks. They then call out words for their partner to spell and also spell words that their partner calls out to them. Once a partner has written a word, their partner checks it and provides feedback.
Partner Memory (above): Students must work with someone who has the same sort that they do. The partners combine word cards, turn them word-face down, and then play memory. Students read (out loud) each word they turn over and try to match words. They keep the words they match.
Free Choice (above): After demonstrating each of these options, students are able to self-select a way to practice writing their WTW words.
Do you you have any favorite Words Their Way routines, activities, or resources?