Saturday, September 17, 2011

For the love of Word Work

Let me tell you that Word Work is my favorite part of Daily 5. FAV-OR-ITE! And the kids love it to, so isn't that special!

The beauty of Daily 5 is the time is saves the teacher! Yes, the teacher SAVES time. I remember back in the day spending my afternoons and weekends making copies, cutting manipulatives, etc. getting ready for next week's stations. I'm exhausted just thinking about it. Blah!

So, what I love about Daily 5 is I introduce the activities and the children use these same activities week after week. (The students think they are games because they are so fun!) Yes, some activities they will out grow and we will retire. We will add some activities here and there throughout the year as their skills progress, but I am NOT spending my precious time coming up with new activities each week. Promise!

Okay, so there are TONS of word work activities out there in the big blog world, or in my case pinterest. Several of which I will refer to soon. My biggest hurdle was figuring out how to differentiate the word study for my students. We all have such a wide range of students, how was I going to meet ALL their needs and keep them ALL progressing? Million dollar question, right? I did lots of research in our professional library at school, talked with teachers and literacy coaches, and read lots of articles online.

Finally, I came across this and a little light went on. Best of all, it's by Beth Newingham- we all know she rocks the literacy house! What I love about her word study is she combines Words Their Way and high frequency word inventories. I did have to make little changes here and there for my firsties, but she did the leg work. Thanks Beth!

So, here's what I did: I made a high frequency chart using Fry's list (that's what my district uses.) I gave two inventories, the first for words 1-20, the next week 21-40. A few of my kids mastered those easy-peasy, so I pulled them in small group and continued until we found some that didn't already know.

Each student now has a blue word study folder with the Fry's list in the brads. I highlighted the words they already know, and circled the words I wanted them to work on. Now, when they go to word work they have a customized list to work on. Genius!

Beth does a spelling test each week and they work with partners to test five of the circled words. I'm still ironing out the details of how I'm going to manage their progression in the folders. I'm thinking my high school intern may check in with them individually each week to check their progress and give them new words when they master the circled ones. We'll just wait and see how this goes.

Now to the fun stuff! My word work activities- here goes nothing!

1. Bottle of Words
If found the original bottle of words on pinterest. You can check it out here. I made my own recording sheet for whole group practice. Then, I cut and glued the headings into a spiral. I put a colored dot on top of the bottle to match the corresponding spiral and we were ready to go. They love it. (I used packing peanuts instead of the noodle things. I just wanted something quiet!)
2. Winning Word Roll
Love this game, especially now that they have their own list of words to work on. To download this, go here.

3. Keyboard
Again, they are practicing their own words. They get to "type" their words using colored fly swatters. My student teacher made the keyboard last year using a shower curtain liner. She used a sharpie to draw the keys then stuck on vinyl letters. Some of the letters are starting to peel. If they come off you can just draw them in with a sharpie. If you teach kinder, this game is a must! I promise it helped them so much when we went to the computer lab. They were no longer searching for the right key like lost little sheep.

4. Spinners
The students get to practice writing their words in different ways. Surprisingly the boys LOVE this. To download, go to my post called THE SPINNER.

5. Fry's Phrases
Still working on this one, but my sweet friend Ally let me take a picture of hers. She is awesome and this is her awesome idea. Write Fry's phrases on craft sticks, students pull the stick and read the phrase. She even put them in a McDonald's fries carton. CUTE!

6. Texting Words
I'm currently collaborating with our iTeam to create an Iphone texting page, but I totally stole the idea from Teacher Tipster. You can download the blackberry page here. Oh, and while you are there scroll down to the One Breath Boxes. Awesome!

7. Kaboom
Last year we called this pop and it was a hit. This year I changed the name because it would be way to babyish to play a kindergarten game! Sheesh! Basically I write or glue the Fry's words
on craft sticks and stick them in a can. I also add several sticks with Kaboom on them. Students pull a stick and read the word. If they don't know the word, they return the stick. They keep the sticks they can read. When they pull Kaboom, all the sticks are returned. This game can get really silly, so I will probably create some sort of recording chart or a way to make them more accountable since we are first graders now!

I know I mentioned this before, but I don't put these ALL out at once. It's always fun to rotate the activities, but it's nice to have several to choose from. I hope you found something here you can use. I will post my iPhone text page as soon as possible! If you find something fabulous for word work, please leave a comment and share!

Almost forgot, I found this really cool sight word game on pinterest. She used Candy Land and turned it into a game. Check it out! I went ahead and typed up most of the Fry's first 100. I left off the super easy ones like a, I, up, and at. But for the most part they are all there. Enjoy!


  1. Ahhh, Nicole I feel like I'm sitting at a table at one of our team meetings just soaking in all your ideas and creativity :) I just might have to move to Coppell so that you can teach Sweet P! I might have to use your shower curtain idea to help Presley learn her letters :)

  2. I've chosen you for the Versatile Blogger Award! Stop by my blog to check it out :)

  3. Nicole- I will for sure be stealing many of these ideas!! I am in love with the candy land idea! Thank you for sharing :-)

  4. Thank you so much. I've been agonizing over hoe to differentiate and not create new things constantly. I am going to work on these this weekend and introduce two games Monday. You are awesome!
    1st in Maine

  5. Thanks for all the good ideas! Keep on blogging. I will share this page with the first grade team in my building where I am the reading specialist.

  6. Love your ideas for word work. I'm new to Daily 5 and you are a big help. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Nicole, your blog rocks! I've nominated you for a Liebster Award! Come on over and check it out!

  8. Hello,
    I have only just come across your blog today. I love your fantastic ideas. I've added you to my Pinterest board so I don't for get to return.
    From Alissa@ Excuse Me Mrs.C!

  9. Hi. Great Post. So many great ideas you've shared. I follow your teaching Pinterest finds. I am doing the rounds spreading the Pinterest love at the moment. I've just put a link on my blog to add your latest teaching ideas and discoveries from Pinterest if you are interested. Either link up your pinterest board or a post from your blog about your current faves.
    You can find it here, From Mrs C @ Excuse Me! Mrs. C

  10. Nicole,

    I jst found your blog and LOVE it! WOW! I am going to fun looking at all of your wonderful ideas! I am your newest follower!

    I would LOVE for you to come visit me when you get the chance! I have TONS and TONS of *freebies* for Firsties....lots of word word activities for the Daily 5!

    Heather's Heart