Please reply with comments about the new word study program you are piloting. Talk about any growth you are noticing, how you have set it up in your classroom, positive changes, negative aspects and any future goals or concerns you have.
Obviously, I am not piloting word study but I have been in classrooms where it is being piloted and I've spoken to many teachers that have taken the initiative to try it out. Two things stand out in my mind. First, I was in a classroom during Tier II and observed a student working in a center on a timed sort. This student, to put it lightly, has difficulty staying on task. However, while working in the word study center this same student was not only fully engaged, but was taking a leadership role in the group! Second, in my conversations with teachers they tell me that students, unaccustomed to success, are achieving it through word study. Just as in guided reading, we are meeting students where they are and helping them move forward. Instead of frustration and confusion, students have the opportunity experience success in school.
I thank those teachers that were willing to take on this pilot and the work that goes with it. This is just another example of your dedication to your students!
I love this program! I have been in rooms using it and see the students excited to learn their words. Teachers have reported that students went from 70 and below to 90 and above on text scores! My own daughter has trouble with spelling in 2nd grade. I started using the word sort at home with her and she is now getting 100% on all tests without the meaningless task of writing the words 5x each! I would like to see this go school wide next year!
My class loves the many different activities included with this spelling program. My students are excited to time each other when completing a word sort or to "operate" on a word for homework. This is only my fourth week piloting the program, but already I have noticed that my students will point out words that follow the spelling pattern of the week when they come across them in other subject areas. This is definitely a great program. I am glad that you introduced it to us Michelle!
We are in a book club reading Words Their Way and Word Journeys. We are using the published word sorts from the Words Their Way authors. I suggest reading the books and testing your class using the Developmental Spelling Analysis (Word Journeys book). Then you can use the info from the books to help you set up Word Study in your classroom.
Most of my students are successful with the Words Their Way spelling in regards to "taking the test." Now that they are spelling words on their level, I'd like to see more success in using these words in their writing. Students have now begun adding these words to or finding these words and circling them in their "yellow book" (student word list) that is kept in their Writer's Workshop Folder. Some students are becoming bolder in their spelling choices when writing (spelling on their own rather than asking for help) and are spelling correctly without support from a teacher.
I enjoy the conversations I hear after the "operation" homework. Some of the words the students come up with are quite hilarious and they are having fun challenging each other and comparing their work. The "rhyming" work is enjoyable for students too, especially when they come up with a "Dr. Seuss word" (a nonsense word) and can read it back to you.
The transfer to writing is so important Robin. Something I had success with was having Spelling group partners read something that another spelling group partner wrote and editing only for the patterns being studied that week or in a previous week. It turns on a light bulb for some kids-"Oh, I guess I have to use this in my writing too!"
Good idea! I'm not sure my students understand the importance of spelling other than to master the words for a test, but we're working on it. To go along with your idea I think I'll post the "Patterns of the Week" so the writers will be aware of them (patterns/words) in another venue besides "spelling."
I just started the Pilot Program and so far am excited by what I see. The students look forward to doing the different word sorts and activities, especially the Timed Sort. They seem to be a lot more enthusiastic about spelling, especially my students who struggled with spelling before. Now that the words are a right fit for them developmentally--they are not frustrated and look forward to Spelling. I have been reading Chapter 2 in the book and the additional handout--which inventory did you administer, Michelle? While I understand the different inventories in theory, I feel that I might need more training (Summer Workshop?) in how to analyze the results and set up the groups. Also, you had mentioned an
evening program to explain the new approach to parents--is this still in the works? My students have been very successful on their weekly tests because they are now appropriately placed for their instruction--no more spelling "petroglyphs"--which not only could not spell but, also did not even know what it meant. For others in the program, how is it going with your ESL students--my one group is working with th and wh this week, and I know that for Spanish students the digraph th does not exist--any feedback? I think that the program, also, helps to identify and give another piece of information for those students who need intervention services. I look forward to having more to share in the weeks ahead! Diane Ennis
I used the DSA from Word Journeys (The chapter that I copied for you). I will be giving a future in-service on the DSA. I wanted to have the parent night for two weeks now, but with the weather I never set it up. Maybe I can send a letter home next week and I will have the parent night the following week. I know Patty said she would be willing to come back and help, so i will check with her. I love the petroglyphs example!