miércoles, julio 13, 2005


just when i thought she couldn't get any worse

la sabelotoda (the know-it-all) brought her portfolio today.

one of the themes in today's workshop is word walls. anyone interested in sharing how you assemble yours and how you make it interactive?

as i sit at these workshops planning for next year (already made the spelling lists for the first 10 weeks and have started weekly homework assignments), i'm trying to decide if i should have a separate word wall for english and another for spanish. last year i combined the two, distinguishing spanish with black ink and english with red. that way, in subjects like social studies where we learn vocab in both languages, the kids know how to identify which language each word is in.

i'm a bit of a slave-driver when it comes to learning high-frequency words, so we have four days of spelling homework and spelling tests every friday. i'll start with spelling in september (school starts mid-august) with five words a week until we work up to ten words in the spring semester. in october we'll have five spanish words and one english word, nov. five spanish and two english, dec. six spanish and two english, and all spring, seven spanish and three english.

mondays i present the new words on index cards. i show the students the first letter (and sometimes give clues) and they guess the word. i show them increasingly more letters, encouraging them to tell me what the subsequent letter would be if their guess was indeed correct. they use the words in sentences and we count/identify vowels and consonants, irregular sounds/spellings, etc. then the homework madness begins. monday night, they will play a making words game at home (but introduced in class) then put the words in alphabetical order. tuesday, they write each word five times. wednesday, they write a complete sentence with each word w/illustration. thursday, word search and study for friday's test. in the spring, everything gets more complicated, so they write each word 10 times on monday, write each word in a sentence on tuesday, write a story with at least 5 spelling words in it on wed., and have a word search on thurs.

the only thing i'm lacking is a structured spelling review tues-thurs aside from reviewing the previous night's homework. we do drills with the words throughout the week, looking for rhyming words, patterns, etc., but nothing super formal. i need all the suggestions i can get.

these are my plans. they are, of course, subject to change, so constructively criticize away!

They sorely need teachers like you in my town.
sounds awesome to me. and it sounds like you have that portfolio lady beat hands down.
Maybe I should be paying you tuition. I am learning more from you than from my credential program. :)
What I've found to be very helpful with word walls is to put them on presentation boards-- you know, the ones the kids use for science fairs? I bought seven or eight of them for $2 each a couple years ago. I have one for high-frequency words, one for math words, one for science, etc. What I like is that I or the kids can move them around to a table or part of the room. Or, if we all need to see it, I just put it up at the front of the room. It can be folded up and put away when not in use, and it saves wall space! Anyway, just an idea.
You sound amazing. I'm sitting here eating lunch and waiting on my teacher friend to come over so we can go to the pool. Are you looking for review ideas for spelling that are independent or group? If you want independent, I have a collection of activities I use that are fun to do. Email me and I'll send it to you.
i think your kids are learning more vocab than mine. this is something to think about...i use a word wall (you wrote the first one with your beautiful elementary school teacher handwriting ;). but i'm highschool so i can't really contribute to this discussion...except i hate overcrowded word walls. i have a co-worker who puts ALL of the words she's ever introduced on a wall--like literally a wall-- and it stresses me out just looking at it. i put words up based on the era/theme of what we're studying. but that's just me. rambling on. i love word walls!
The idea about the presentation boards is genius. I love how these blogging conversations are so damn productive!! Not like a long meeting where dollar store goodies put folks into a twitter.

I lead (and then kids independently) sorting with our words, as in the book Words Their Way. It has really helped my poorer readers/spellers get a sense of patterning-- much like the group discovery you do as you introduce the words on MOnday.

Great post....great ideas all!
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