Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Workshop Wednesday - Word Work

I'm linking up today with Jivey's wonderful Workshop Wednesday! The topic of today's linky is Word Work games and activities! I was excited to hear that because I have recently introduced Words their Way with my 3rd and 4th graders and am always on the hunt for more Word Work games to keep it fresh.

Only a few people in my district are using Words their Way in 3rd and 4th (I'm one of the two from my 7 person team in my school) so their aren't a ton of resources handed to us by the district. The district provided resource is Sitton Spelling. It is mostly based on high frequency words, and has a cloze style spelling test for every Friday. It just wasn't doing it for me, so I asked if I could do something different, was happy to hear that a couple other teachers were interested, and before you know it we're doing WTW! So far I've been really happy with it too!

It took me getting over one thing brain kept insisting that I somehow had to fit everything into a Monday - Friday rotation, but then I read a blog post on Life, Love, Literacy and it clicked, why not do a 7 day cycle?! So that's what I've done, and it's working great!

Our system is basically this:

Day 1 - Intro New Sorts (word lists) - Initial Sort - students cut sorts and try to sort them any way that makes sense.
Day 2  - Sound/Spell Sort - students practice sorting their words by sound or spelling pattern. They check their sorts with a friend.
Day 3 - Game Day - students play a game with their words.
Day 4 - Alternate word work day. I didn't want to not be able to do all the other great word games and word study opportunities because I only had time for WTW. This day the groups do one of those other great games that don't necessarily relate to that week's sort.
Day 5 - Game Day - students play a game with their words.
Day 6 - Buddy Spell - students quiz each other on their words.
Day 7 - Each group takes their own spelling test.

So, on to the activities and games! Some of my favorites are really simple, and you could easily reproduce them! 

Kids in different groups have different
colored paper for their word cards.
I have printed off American Sign Language sheets and the kids practice signing their words to a friend.

We play a word game similar to Guess Who, where kids choose a secret word and the other student asks questions to narrow down which word from the sort it could be.

I have my kids make their own word searches and trade with a buddy. 

Long, long ago when I first taught 2nd grade and used WTW I made myself this "Words Have Value" page to have kids practice counting money and spelling their words. I've found that my older kids like doing it too! I went ahead and added this simple sheet to my TpT store for just a buck! 

One of my favorite activities for the kids on the alternate day is a new one for me this year! It's the Expand-a-Word pack from Joanne over at Head Over Heels for Teaching. Basically, the kids get a sheet for recording, and a set of cards for the week (I give my kids 4 each time). The letters on the cards should be used to make as many words as possible by adding other letters without rearranging the letters on the cards. So if the card says "SOR" one word that a kid could make is "Source." My kids LOVED it when we tried it this week.

There's a year's worth of cards in the pack, so at just $3.50 you're basically paying 10 cents a week for a ready-made, worthwhile word work activity! Click the image to go and grab a copy!

And of course sometimes I have the kids practice alphabetizing their sort, or trying to find other ways to sort their words if they have a couple of minutes. But I'm excited to sit down and read all of the other link ups!

If you stuck around this long, you must have a kind heart! So go check out my class's current project! We're almost funded! We're asking for a bunch of "Who was" and "Choose your own adventure" books. My kids need some engaging biographies, and they just eat up the "Choose" books. Match code MALL20 will match any donation! (Thanks Jivey!)


  1. Love all of this!! I will be adding some of these ideas to my word work station. Thank you for linking up such awesome ideas, as always!

  2. Nick, thank you for the shout out to my blog. I am also very excited about this linky andlove the way you have described your reflections on word study and classroom routines.

  3. Nick, thank you for the shout out to my blog. I am also very excited about this linky andlove the way you have described your reflections on word study and classroom routines.

  4. I like that you're introducing your students to ASL through word work. What a great idea! I'm sure the kids love it! And I was nodding my head as I read about your lightbulb moment of allowing 7 days for all that work. I think we all tend to look for Monday-Friday routines, but they don't always allow for enough practice!

  5. Awww, thanks for the shout out Nick and I'm so glad your students are liking my Expand a Word! I love that Word Work Cycle! You have put so much thought into your word work centers and I'm sure your students benefit from all of your hard work!
    Head Over Heels For Teaching

  6. I use Words Their Way as well, and I love the idea of a seven day rotation. Thank you for sharing this schedule, as well as all the word work activities!

    Fit to be Fourth
    Follow me on Bloglovin

  7. I love your ideas! I was finding we couldn't do the word work justice in one week either so we do two weeks. Your activities rock! Thanks for reminding me about Joanne's Expand-A-Word. I had bought it in September and forgotten about during the busy start-up/shuffle, etc.
    Grade 4 Buzz

  8. I love the idea of using ASL to have kids practice their words. I actually think this is great for kinesthetic learners.
    ~April Walker
    The Idea Backpack

  9. I love all your word work ideas, Nick!! Your cycle looks great and I love how you thought outside the box. Half the time it seems that we don't even have a full week of school anyway so the Monday-Friday plans stress me out! lol
    Fourth Grade Flipper


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