I need to strengthen my instruction of spelling, so I was THRILLED when I found a copy of Words Their Way left behind from a previous teacher in my room.
So, now I've looked at it, and (maybe because spelling is NOT my strong suit when it comes to teaching) it just seems overwhelming. It seems like setting up and completing the activities would take more time than I have to offer in my ninety minute periods.
Maybe I'm misunderstanding.
Can someone provide a summary of this model or comment on the investment of time that it takes?
I have read most of the book and think many of the activities are great. I used them in my practicum for reading specialist tutoring. I would like to use them in my classroom next year but need to make centers that the kids can use the activities in. Our professor told us that her daughter used the system in her classroom for a couple of years and saw great improvement in the abilities of the kids. We use the spelling that comes with our reading series but that doesn't mean I can't add to it. The assessment will tell you the stages that the kids are in. It will be time consuming but maybe you could use it for the struggling students. Hope that helps you some.
three or four years. It is a lot to set up, but once it's set up and you have the kids trained, it goes very smoothly. But it IS a lot to set up. Consider setting it up, getting everyone assessed, and getting your word sorts on a flash drive or something the first semester--make some games too, if you like, but you don't have to have games ready to go to use this. Then, second semester, you can implement.
I put the folders for the different levels on the wall, filled with that week's sort, and their job is to get to the sort sometime that week. They have to sort, copy it into their word study notebook, and state the generalization they discovered. I don't plan time for it; it's their problem to get it done.
You will have to model quite a bit in the beginning.
Word Study is huge in our area, my Master's Program had a course on it. I've used it for awhile now.
Yes- sorting is a huge piece, children need to be able to compare and contrast spelling features and explain why they are sorting the way they do (I put 'skate' in the a_e column because the e at the end makes the a say "a")- make sense?
Time- it only takes a long time on the day you introduce the sort to the groups (it really does work better for the kids to have groups). Typical week for me is on Mondays everyone cuts and sorts their words, they meet with me and then complete a writing sort. (2nd grade, younger may want to just sort on Monday). Tuesday through Thursday I pick on activity that all students complete after sorting their words. For example, Draw and Label is in the book, the whole class can do it at the same time, just each child uses their own sort. On Friday, they test (you don't have to test, it's a bit of the 'old' I wasn't ready to part with)
Another good book is Word Journeys by Kathy Ganske, we used both when I was trained and I like the assessment piece of Word Journeys.
Good Luck!!! I promise you will love it once you get used to it!
I don't use spelling lists. I just use word sorts.
You decide the order by giving them all a placement test, then placing everyone on the continuum. Then put up lists or something with everyone's group on it. So, if I test into Syllables and Affixes, I will start with the first sort in that level and continue all the way to end, then move on to the next category. I know that you are able to place kids low, medium, and high for each level, but I have 130 kids, and I just can't manage that. If you're S and A, then you start at the beginning, and work through the whole level. If I had just 28 kids or something, I would further place them within the level, though.
You move to the next level when you finish the one you tested into, unless you had lots of trouble with each sort (which shouldn't happen if the child is placed correctly to begin with).
I guess I could map it out, but I don't. I don't really worry about it if we don't finish.
Take a summer to make some of the games. Then, on Fridays, you can let them play the games, if time allows.
Actually, I have a minor in Reading Instruction, and WTW IS a course within that minor. It's Reading 300 something. It's the whole class. I have an over-achiever friend who organized a study for licensure credit through her district, to study WTW. You might be able to do that if you could get three or four other teachers interested. Then the district would buy the books.