August 12, 2010

Spring PD Power Point

Posted in Getting Ready, Uncategorized at 2:23 pm by svalter

Here is a copy of the power point Jennifer and I shared on the May PD day: Words Their Way.

PD Presentation

Posted in Getting Ready, The first few weeks at 1:15 pm by svalter

Here is a copy of the power point presentation shared at today’s PD session:  Words Their Way Aug 2010.

July 9, 2010

Getting Ready to Start

Posted in Getting Ready at 2:42 pm by svalter

A lot of people have been asking, “How can I get ready for next year?”  So I thought it would be fun to start a blog to reflect on my own use of WTW in the classroom and to answer questions people might have as we go along this year.

In a nutshell, a lot of the specific things you will do for WTW are not possible to plan or prepare for right now because it is so driven by the students you will be welcoming into your classroom this fall.  Until I assess my students, I don’t have any idea what to copy or what I will be teaching.

With that said, for those who are spending their summer days thinking about WTW (as I’m sure we all are!), here are a couple of things you can do to begin preparing for the new school year:

  1. Start thinking about your grouping structure.  How many groups do you want to have?  (This will be somewhat dictated by the students who come into your room, but you may want to think about how many “rotations” of kids you can work in each day and how you want this to look.)  I like to try to group my kids into 4 different groups and meet with two each day because this allows me to see each child at least every other day.
  2. Sketch out how you would like to set up your scheduling.  Do you want to stay strictly with the structure set up in WTW?  Do you want to organize your instruction so that grammar lessons are woven into your schedule?  How long do you want a set of words to last in your room?  Many people do one set of words each week (often starting/ending on Tuesdays or Wednesdays).  I have tried a few different approaches in my room, and I have settled on a schedule that spans two weeks so I can incorporate grammar into my instruction.  Figure out what you think would work best for you and your style of teaching, and look back in the WTW book to get ideas for how you want to set this up!
  3. Glance through the book.  It’s definitely not the best summer novel you could pick up, BUT it gives a lot of important information that will really help you as you go along.  Most importantly, I would really recommend skimming through the chapters on the theory behind this approach, as it will answer the WHY behind the sorting and categorizing.
  4. Set up your organization system.  How do you want your students to store their words?  Where do you want to keep your copies?  How do you want to get each new sort cut out for the kids?  Do you want to store and save the sorts, or do you want to let the kids take them home at the end of a cycle?  What other materials might you want them to use?  I usually have the kids keep their words in small key envelopes that slip into library pockets on a board, and I keep my copies in hanging files in a crate next to it.
  5. Familiarize yourself with the different stages of development.  A quick glance over the chart on the inside front cover of the book is VERY helpful and easy to refer back to when you need it. 
  6. Get to know the assessment.  How will you administer it?  When?  I usually give it to my whole class within the first 2-3 days of school, stressing to them that it is NOT used for a grade.  If you’re tutoring this summer or teaching summer school, try out the assessment piece.  You’ll be amazed at what it shows you about your students, and it’s good practice.  You may even want to try out a lesson or two to see how it fits.
  7. Remember what a SMALL but important piece of your literacy block this is.  It’s truly only 20 minutes a day, so don’t stress out TOO much.  Start thinking about how what you will be doing here will tie in to other aspects of your day.  You can really reinforce what you’re doing in reading and writing and the content areas. 
  8. Relax and enjoy the rest of your summer!