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Mr.C 02-09-2013 03:48 PM

Words their Way
Question. What are your opinions on/experiences with Words their Way for phonics instruction? I am conflicted using it because when I provide instruction, I find myself trying to provide strategies that go over their heads for remembering the patterns but most times, I have to advise the students to either think of the different spelling patterns associated with a sound, write them all out, and eliminate options based on what looks right or I hate to say it, memorize the spelling of particular words. I feel so awful when teaching long vowels to my second graders because I want to provide them with meaningful tools when it comes to spelling. Any suggestions? Thanks....

eatteachlove 02-10-2013 01:53 PM

I use it...
I use it in kinder as a supplemental tool for letter sound sorts. I also use it with higher groups for vowel families and long vowels, but I like to incorporate tongue twisters or rhymes that have the spelling pattern featured (like "Little Boy Blue" for -or). I know that's cheesy for 2nd grade though...

Squirl 02-10-2013 03:46 PM

I use it...
with my Firsties. I like it, and the things that the kids learn from word sorts and talking about those sorts can't be replaced by simply "giving" them the information. I have spent the last two months really trying to adjust my lessons in class to accommodate for the time that I need to give the kids to learn these things, but it seems to be working out okay. I even reformatted my spelling tests so I can grade them the same way that you grade the initial spelling inventory. It's been a lot of work, and there is still A TON of work to do. I'm hoping to spend some time this summer really working out the kinks in "my version" of the program. ;)

mes 02-10-2013 04:05 PM

Squirl, do you have an example. This past week I have changed the way I'm scoring the tests because I feel they were making more progress than they were getting credit for. Would love to see what you are thinking.

Squirl 02-10-2013 04:20 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Here is an example of one of my "rubrics" if you will. It's not perfect by any means, but it works for what I'm doing. This one is for a group that was learning to differentiate between CVC words and CVCe words. I don't give my kids the words that I put on the test. They might see the words throughout the week, but I don't tell them that those are the test words. They see anywhere from 25 to 50 words throughout the week. I am more interested in whether or not they understand the pattern rather than if they can memorize a list of spelling words. I also have a spelling test format that I use that includes the 10 pattern words, 5 "challenge words" (basically a pre-assessment for the patterns that I want to study next week), and 5 high-frequency words (from Fry's word lists). I'll blog about my Words Their Way endeavor one of these days... when I feel like I've got a system down. LOL You can find my blog address in my "About Me" section here. You could also Google "Floating Through First Grade." You'll find the test format there. (I'm new to blogging, so you don't have to scroll too far down to find the post about spelling tests.)

There is plenty more that I feel like I should say about the attachment, but here it is. Please ask if you have questions.

By the way, this is still a work in progress and I'm human... I manage to find a mistake on every group's scoring sheet every week. Haha! This one: it's not worth 34 points; it's worth 29 points. Sometimes, I find that I accidentally repeated a word. I swear I go over them a million times, but it never fails. ;)

Squirl 02-10-2013 04:25 PM

As for the test itself...
I will staple this scoring sheet to the test. I still circle every misspelled word on their test, but they get points for having the parts of the words that I was looking for. They don't lose points for misspelling the word. I count the number of points possible (in this example, the initial and final consonants, short vowels, digraphs, blends, and long vowels all for words 1-10, and the high-frequency words). Once the student's test is scored, I count the check marks and divide by points possible. The greyed out sections don't count and the "feature points" and "words spelled correctly" have no impact on the grade. The two words under "totals" are bonus words.

My system isn't perfect by any means, but I'd be happy to answer any questions you have... or take suggestions to improve what I'm doing. :)

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