Have you been doing word work as part of your Daily 5 or literacy rotations? Tired of kids playing dominoes with your scrabble tiles and scribbling on your whiteboards? I know that I was! It is time for some rich, engaging and meaningful word study!
After lots of trial, error, research, deliberation and lattes, I decided to divide my word work up into 4 categories. This keeps things fresh and fun while also ensuring I am covering the broad topic of ‘word study’ thoroughly. This also helps provide some additional structure for me and my kiddos! The 4 categories are: Spelling Patterns, Word Knowledge, Grammar, and Vocabulary.
I like to have a mix of ‘no prep printable’ type activities (For accountability, giving a quick check-in, and my sanity..) as well as game style activities (that take a lliittttlle prep, but I promise- they are worth it!). The kids will love the fun hands on games (Flyswatter swat? Jenga? Yes please!). The best part is, you can download it all from my store, choose what works for you and be ready to roll in no time at all!
I’ve also written about organization, structure and set up. So, what are you waiting for? Scroll on!
THE FOUR CATEGORIES
1. Spelling Patterns
Students need to practice determining which patterns make which sounds, and which words follow which patterns. These can be tricky for some students since they can’t ‘sound them out’ and they don’t always follow a ‘rule’. Spelling pattern sorts and which looks right activities help students visualize and remember which patterns go with which words. Practicing these skills can help them learn to think “does this look right” in their own writing.
2. Word Knowledge
Word Knowledge includes the understanding of words, word systems and language. In this category, I’ve included topics such as compound words, synonyms and antonyms, etc. When students increase their word knowledge, they understand more about words and how to use them and can become more powerful readers and writers.
For my activities, I include basics such as introducing the type of word, spelling them and located them within grade appropriate reading passages. I like to include a mix of no prep pages and hands on games. This keeps the students engaged and learning!
I combined parts of speech activities with sentence writing for this category. Students learn about parts of speech and describe how they can enhance their writing. Also, students will practice editing sentences and writing interesting, rich, fun sentences! Games and puzzles can help keep this topic fun for your students.
A key part of word study is learning about new words! In my activities, I’ve included 5 interesting words with definitions and sample sentences. Students will learn about them, fill in blanks, discover synonyms and antonyms and write their own sentences. Again, a mix of no-prep printables and board game-style fun will keep your students on task and learning!
Set up and Organization
There are many options based on how you run your word work/Daily 5 program. I’ve made it easy by adding lots of labels and printable tags or stickers to help you label your materials for you and your students.
One option, is to put each category into its own bin with the materials required. Use the round circle tags to identify the bins and the printable square labels to ensure materials get returned to the correct location. If space is an issue, you can use one ‘Word Work’ or ‘Word Study’ bin and use plastic ziplocs for each of the 4 categories.
The circle tags can also be used in pocket charts to create rotations, and titles are provided to label a bulletin board, word space or bins. Everything you need is right at your fingertips!
The sanity-saver is the “tracker”. This guides students through the activities. I like to highlight or asterix the ‘most important’ tasks for my students- differenitation in a snap! Maybe my lower students really need to do the spelling pattern pages so I highlight those, while my higher students can start with vocabulary and go back to patterns if they have time. Maybe I have a few students who ONLY play the games and I need a sheet or two completed to check their understanding, so I will highlight those. The tracker is also editable so you can add, delete or change anything you’d like!