Monday, November 5, 2012

Word Work

If you’re like us, word work can be a bit of a struggle. We want to keep kids challenged and engaged in meaningful learning without a lot of worksheets and especially grading! We came up with, what we think is, the perfect word work structure.

We have three different lists we offer students each week. List one is the challenge list. It has 15 words on harder words with the same spelling skill. List two is the original list for the week with 15 words following the same pattern. List three is our easier list with only 7 words for students who struggle with that pattern. Students also have 5 words each week from their writing or the high frequency word list to work on.

On Mondays, students take a pretest on the spelling skills. These words are from list two. Their performance on this list will help us determine which list is most appropriate for students. This changes each week because there is a new pattern each week. Students look at their test results from the previous week and any words they miss become their choice words along with any other words from their writing. Here is an image of the highlighted list kids use to manage their choice words:

Students are also introduced to the board for the week. They have three “must dos” for the week. The first is mountain language to help with basic language skills. The second is a specific activity having to do with their word pattern. It could be sorting their words, playing Boggle, or any other activity to help students practice their pattern. Their last activity is a one page worksheet from their workbook. We use the Spelling Connections curriculum and it has some wonderful activities, but we don’t love that each week students have 6 worksheets! This allows us to stick with the program, have students practice the pattern using the worksheet, and differentiate for all of our learners. Here is an image of our work board:

Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays are dedicated to the practice work. Students can practice with partners, alone, or even in small group practice that we offer during this time. Homework is completed throughout the week using the program Spelling City.

Finally, on Friday students complete a partner assessment where they complete their choice words test with their partner, assess their practice work, and have their partner assess their work with feedback. This gives students an authentic audience for their practice while alleviating us from grading all of the practice work. We can spend our time giving feedback to the students on their final assessment! Students take their final test on Spelling City and we record their scores with final feedback.

Easy. Differentiated. Meaningful. Does it get any better? If you have any fabulous ideas to make word work meaningful, please share!


  1. I did something similar to this last year and it worked great! I have a very different group this year so I am approaching it from another angle. But I love being able to differentiate word work time.

    Sara :)
    Smiling In Second Grade

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