Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Word Work Activities

When I launched Word Work a few weeks ago, my wonderful coteacher encouraged me to only launch a few word work activities, so the students wouldn't feel so overwhelmed with the possibilities.  This was a great idea, especially since I have some inclusion students.  Right now all of my word work activities revolve around the students' spelling patterns.  As the year goes on, I will introduce some vocabulary activities as well.  Here is a word work poster that I created. This hangs above my word work materials.  

(Click to download)

One of the favorite activities is "Value Words."  I like this activity because it encourages some math work as well.  Students are to spell a word that fits their spelling pattern, then add up the value of the word.  To make it a game, it is directed to find the highest value word that fits their spelling pattern. You can download your own Value Words copy here.  

Words in the Read World is an activity where students find words or pictures that fit their spelling pattern in magazines. The stamps include letter stamps and bingo daubers.  Each week, students must also complete a given word sort that will fit their spelling pattern.  

I hope you can find some use for these activities!  Sorry again for the long absence.  I'm going to make it a priority to post at least once a week from now on!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Teaching Context Clues

Context clues are always so tough for me to teach!  Anyone else?  I have always been a reader and I think learning vocabulary has always been automatic for me, that sometimes I have a hard time slowing it down and teaching how to learn new vocabulary through context.  I also think using context clues are very tough for students to learn, which oftentimes make it difficult to teach as well.  Context clues are a HUGE part on the OAA.  I can't remember the exact number, but it is the second most frequently tested indicator in the fourth grade.  For all of these reasons, I'm getting a jump start on context clues this year!  

This year, I have decided to slow-it-down.  I'm going to break it down into at least four mini-lessons.  Each mini-lesson will focus on the different context clues strategies.  As each strategy is introduced, students will record notes on this sheet.  

Students will keep these notes in the "Notes" section of their Literacy Binders.  Each lesson will be taught on the Smart Board.  About three example sentences will be given, and students will first be shown, then guided on how to use each type of context clue.  Each mini-lesson is followed up with a quick assessment.  My co-teacher and I will use the assessments to determine who needs additional instruction and form strategy groups if needed.  My absolutely wonderful literacy coach (who I talk about often on here!) has also volunteered to help plan additional instruction/enrichment if needed.  I'm really hopeful that teaching context clues in this manner will help my students understand it better.  

What strategies or fool-proof lesson plans do you use to teach context clues?  

Monday, September 12, 2011

My Apologies and an Update!

My apologies to all my faithful readers and followers.  I know I have let you all down with my lack of posting.  I've really have missed blogging (and reading...I'm behind 200 posts on my google reader) and a little bit of me hopes you've missed me too!  I never imagined how busy I would be now that school is back in session.  My faithful followers know that I am my building's new technology coordinator.  When I applied for this position back in May, I honestly had no idea what I was in for.  If I was just dealing with computer, printer, and Smart Board problems I would be ok.  No, I had to take the position right before a major district-wide launch of ProgressBook.  So on top of the computer, printer, and Smart Board problems, I'm working with teachers on ProgressBook and the ridiculous roster issues we're having!  All of this on my free time.  Um...what is that anyways?!  And, did I mention I'm on the district Reading committee?  This committee is making the selection for our district wide reading curriculum, and I feel VERY strongly about this so I'm not going to complain about the 8 days I will be out of the classroom over the next two months while this committee meets.  Did I mention 8 days?  And two days in a row next week?  Nope, you hear no complaining here.  

By the way, did I mention I'm also a teacher?  Wait.  No, my first priority is being a teacher.   I'm so happy that I have such a wonderful class this year!  We are going into our fourth week of school already.  I cannot believe it!  Our Daily 5 & CAFE is well under way and we are launching our new Word Study program and Word Work this week.  The fifth grade teachers are joining us in the Word Study program and we decided to take some time to really get everything together before launching.  Plus, it takes quite a bit of time to get the students assessed.  Our FAB-U-LOUS Literacy Coach is also helping, and we are all so excited to see the progress the students will make this year in spelling.  

I hope you accept my long-winded apology and will stick with me throughout this madness I call the 2011-2012 school year!  I promise there will be many more classroom ideas and freebies to come!