Monday, December 26, 2011

Digging In with Word Work

Word Work is one of my students' favorite components of the Daily 5.  Word Work allows students the opportunity to practice their wall words and/or spelling words.  Word Work is a very important literacy component, and your students will take it seriously if you provide clear expectations.  When launching Word Work, it's important to create an anchor chart with your students.  The anchor chart details the expectations for demonstrating independence during Word Work.  There are several different choices that students can select from during Word Work.  The options that my students choose from are as follows:
Visit my classroom blog for a list of the websites my students frequently use for Word Work.

Modeling is another key factor for a successful launch of Word Work.  It's important for students to see the correct way and the incorrect way to participate in Word Work.  It's also important to model how to put away materials at the end of the Daily 5 round.  In The Daily 5, the authors stress that the incorrect model is shown first, and it's followed by the correct model.  I think it's crucial to leave students with the correct model in their minds.

It's important to reinforce that the materials used for Word Work are tools and not toys.  I can't begin to tell you how many times I've repeated the refrain, "Markers are tools and not toys."  However, it sticks with them, and they really learn to use the materials correctly.  My students use individual white boards for Word Work probably more that any of the other materials.  Some teachers use old sock as erasers.  I buy felt squares which I cut in half.  They make perfect erasers.  Besides, I can't stand the thought of having old socks lying around my classroom.  I'm just a bit picky that way.  The felt squares are durable and washable, and best of all, cheap.  I haven't had to replace these for several years now.  They can be purchased at most craft and fabric stores, and they come in many different colors.

Rainbow Paper is another engaging alternative.  My students rewrite their Wall Words in rainbow colors.  Each letter of the word is a different color.  When students are using the rainbow paper for Word Work, they are not only working with words, they are also practicing their handwriting.

Once Word Work has been introduced, it's important to maintain consistency.  Keep the materials the same and don't worry that your students are getting board with them.  You want to keep them  focused on their word work and not on new items which may become distracting.

What are the go-to tools and websites used for Word Work in your classroom? 

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