Words Their Way and Spelling Scope & Sequence

What does spelling look like in your classroom?  If you have an adopted spelling curriculum, are you following it? Do you find that the scope and sequence meets the needs of your students?

I've just started looking into Words Their Way:

The prices for all of the books can add up quickly!  I want to make sure the investment is worth it, so here are my questions:
  1. Which books do I need?
  2. How hard is it to implement without training?
  3. Is there a suggested scope and sequence, or do you teach patterns based off of the assessments?
  4. How often do you assess?
  5. Are the groups flexible or do kids stay in the same group all year?
  6. Are there materials included in the books for take-home practice as well as in-class practice?
  7. How family-friendly is the program?
  8. Are you seeing the skills carry over into their writing?

  I appreciate any feedback you can give me about how spelling looks in your classroom.

2 comments:

Casey Turner said...

I use words there way in my classroom! I didn't like it last year but I love it this year. It is the opposite for my team mate, it works differently for different groups of kids.

Pros:
It is SO developmentally appropriate. You really see the kiddos using the words in their writing almost immediately. It takes out a lot of the prep work for how you would usually organize your Word Work station because they already have the words. Mine keep them in a ziplock bag that is stapled into their Word Work journal, other teachers on my grade level use envelopes.

Cons:
I have kiddos on 8 different spelling list. It gets to be a lot to manage especially when you are giving the spelling test on Fridays and have to have copies of the sorts ready for Mondays.

I had NO training when I implemented it. It was tough going with the record keeping at first but now it is smooth sailing. I just keep it in my regular grade book. I write a G, Y, or are to indicate the color of the book and then the number sort they are on in the book.

The groups are as flexible as you want them to be. A friend of mine ONLY keeps 3 groups all year and just moves every body along. My groups change every week. My kids have to pass 7/10 words to go on to the next leveled sort. I only keep them at the same sort at a maximum of 2 weeks so that they don't get so discouraged.

There are not materials for take home in the books. I make a copy of the sort to go home and for them to keep in the classroom. I give them a spelling "menu" to keep at home always, they have choices like spelling city and rainbow words. I tell them to study 10 words off of their list each night, and to make sure they choose the 10 that are the most difficult for them.

Parents are confused in the beginning so I was sure to send out an e-mail specifically about the spelling homework after the second week of school this year. (I didn't want to do it the first week because TONS of papers go home that week). Parents are on board especially after they see how with the lower kids there are no longer tears during spelling homework practice and the upper kids parents are excited to see words like "opportunistic" coming home!

The books are pricey, we were able to get the principal to buy 1 set for our grade level . . .and we keep a filing cabinet with all of the word sorts and our assistants try and keep it stocked with enough copies.

As far as your instruction goes, there is a pre-assessment that you give that will guide you in how you will determine where they need to start. Each week I pull different groups of students. Sometimes they kids go a few weeks without me seeing them because their patterns aren't that complicated.

Overall, yes it is more work but yes it is SO worth it.

Another con is if the following grade level doesn't use the program and suddenly the lower kids are expected to study the regular words, they get SO discouraged! (That's where we are at now)

If you send me your e-mail I can let you know which books we use (I think I'm running out of space here)

Casey
Second Grade Math Maniac

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Smiles, Crayons, and Endless Stories

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