Monday, November 10, 2014

Streamlining Words Their Way

I know many of you are WTW experts out there.  Kudos to you!!  Seriously!  This post isn't for you.  It was written for those of you who may feel a little frustrated with the program or looking for a way to streamline it...

I seem to have a love/hate relationship with this program. I do a ton of word work in my class- what first grade teacher doesn't? But managing parts of the program has proven a challenge for me. For the last three years, Word Study WTW homework has been "required" to be given.  I know, I know...not really how the program is designed. 

On top of that, despite clear directions, the parents didn't seem to follow through or understand what to do.  It came back a mess and done any which way.  That's not how my other HW came back.  Ever.  I finally realized it came back the way it did because I wasn't vested into the HW the way I should have been....I didn't believe in it.  I didn't want to send it home but had to.

This year, I've streamlined a bit and am NOT required to send home.  I already feel a huge sense of relief on so many levels.  One thing I HATED was that we used a black marble composition book.  I feel asking my firsties to write on those tiny lines is unfair. 

So, I had them write on proper paper and glue the page in book.  Wasted time.  This year, here's what I'm doing:  Booklets.  Already made for the year.  Each week is only a 2-sided sheet of paper.  (Feel free to grab it on first pic.)

Day 1: Introduce, cut, sort.  TIP: No more having kids write initials on back of each cut out.  Instead, teach them to use a crayon and run a line down the middle of the sort. (Tip courtesy of my son who said that's what his teacher did when he was in first grade.)  I modeled and remodeled for some.  Every child has own color.  After 12 kids got a color, I decided to have the rest of the kids use TWO colors together.  In the first week, we had five wayward pieces on the floor and getting them back to the right owner was a snap.
This is the back of a sheet but you can see the words through it. 
This child was assigned the green crayon.

Here's a double line.  So much faster than writing initials, isn't it?
I have them write the words in the journal.  Then they must use a colored pencil to retrace the letter combinations/rules of the week.  All words go into a baggie.  TIP: Only give half a sheet if kids are overwhelmed with words.  Can always give other half another day. Also: if more words than spaces, that's fine.  That's all I make them write down.  No biggie.
Day 2 is always various sorting activities.
Day 3 is sorting and then completing the top half of the second page in booklet: sentences.  ( I only make them pick one word per header.)
Day 4: Sort and then apply new combinations to new words which is the bottom of the second page. For now, I don't care if they are made up words as long as they follow the pattern.
Day 5: I have small group dictation which I use as my assessment.  The words I select are NOT the words they cut out.  Again, I'm looking to see if they can apply rules/combos to new words.  And my biggest change?  They DO NOT glue words into book this year.  This way, they get to re-sort over and over again until I feel they have truly nailed it. 
Hope it helps someone out there!

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