How To Spell Smaller
How To Spell Smaller - What activities and strategies can you use during the small group lessons for the Word pattern stage of word study? In this 4-part series, I dig into some suggested word study activities for each phase of Words The Way! Get ready to get some ideas for packing your small group word study lessons for the Within Word Patterns Spellers stage!
A successful word study block includes both direct instruction, delivered in small, differentiated groups based on developmental assessments and opportunities for students to independently practice and apply what they have learned. After making decisions about the activities you want your students to complete during their word study block, grading them, and creating word study groups, many of us wonder what exactly we are going to do with our students during their small group, meet with the teacher? !?!. First, lets take a look at what makes the Within Word Pattern stage special!
How To Spell Smaller
Elementary students who fall into the Word Pattern Spellers stage of word study can usually spell most single-syllable words, short-vowel words, initial consonant-digraphs, and two-letter-consonant combinations correctly. They begin to explore long vowel patterns but are inconsistent with their accuracy.
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The Within Word Pattern stage acts as the bridge between the beginning stage, when students struggle with reading and writing, and the middle stage, when students can read most of the texts they encounter. Within this developmental stage, students rapidly increase their vocabulary of sight words and the ability to decipher new words. Students in your Within Word Pattern group should study long vowels (CVCe), other common long vowel patterns, r-affected vowel patterns, diphthongs and vowel digraphs, complex consonant clusters, and homophones and homonyms.
My students complete blind word searches based on their word study lists. This means they do NOT get a word list until they try to find their words in a word search. I can allow students to work side by side with a partner to modify this activity for students in the Within Word Pattern Spellers group.
Before meeting me in a small group, they spend 1-2 days looking for words in the word search and sorting them into categories that make sense to them.
When students gather their notebooks and meet at our small group table, they know to look for the word search and keep looking for possible words. When Im ready to start the meeting, I ask volunteers to share the words they found. When the students share words, I make a word sorter on cardboard and ask the students to help me sort each new word.
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GENERATING WORDS: Students in the Within Word Pattern stage should spend a lot of time working with common long sound patterns and generating words in a variety of ways. Filling in missing sounds among a group of given long sound patterns helps students generalize spelling rules and builds a strong foundation for understanding long sounds.
You can find these activities and other word generating activities in the Word Study Notebook within Word Pattern. Download all the species activities found in Unit 1 for free to check them out!
After introducing and working on several of the long vowel patterns, make word cards (you can even have students make these on index cards) with the sound patterns students have been working on and then different consonants and consonant combinations (you can also use magnetic letters for this). Have students use the cards from each category to make as many words as they can in a given time. The students must record each word on a recording sheet or board. After the time is up, gather the words together and discuss as a group whether each word is a real word, what it means and whether or not the word is spelled correctly.
SHARE WRITING: Connecting writing and word study is a great, authentic way for students to apply what theyre learning about long vowels to their writing. Have students bring their notebook and a highlighter to the small group class. After introducing a long vowel pattern (introduce them one at a time), for example CVCe, ask students to review some of their writing together and highlight words that follow the long vowel pattern or
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Follow the long vowel pattern but are not spelled in a way that the vowel says the name. Have students work in pairs to identify and correct these words and share examples that need fixing with the whole group.
BLIND SORTS: I find blind types very useful when working with long vowel patterns. A fun spin on blind species is Sound Bingo. Create a bingo board that has alternative spellings represented in each box of the long vowel sound you are working with (ie words that have oe but are represented by a variety of spellings such as o, oa , ow, o-e and oe ). When you read the long vowel words, students must write them in the correct box. When someone gets a full row, column or diagonal, they get a Bingo! (Audio bingo idea from Top Notch Teaching)
Get ready to improve your word study routines! Share your email below and Ill send you a free unit of word search and word study notebooks tailored for Words Their Way. Youll also want to subscribe to the Tarheelstate Teacher newsletter for middle school teachers!
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READ READ: I love introducing the concept of homophones and homonyms with a good picture book. The King Who Rained by Fred Gwynne is one of my favorites to use for homophones. To introduce homonyms, my favorite read aloud is Eight Ate: A Feast of Homonym Riddles by Marvin Terban. Once students have started working on both homophones and homonyms, I like How Much Can A Bare Bear Bear? What are homonyms and homophones? by Brian Cleary because it actually teaches the difference between homonyms and homophones (which can be confusing for children at this stage of development) with lots of illustrated examples.
SHARED WRITING: I always provide a list of homophones for students to keep in their word study or writing folders to refer to when needed. I like to give the students several opportunities to pull out the list and help me make some sentences with homophone pairs in the same sentence on chart paper. Then I ask students to choose a few pairs of their favorite homophones and do the same individually, sharing their sentences with the group at the end.
Cloze exercises are good ways to elicit student analysis and discussion. Do a cloze exercise together with a shared write on chart paper. Cover all the homophones in the shared scripture and work together to find which word goes with which meaning. Ask students to help you create non-linguistic representations or drawings for each homophone before attempting to complete the cloze exercise. This site, K12 Reader, has some great resources focused on homophones for elementary students to use during small group lessons.
PLAY GAMES: Playing games during small group meetings are perfect ways for you to probe students thinking and guide them to generalize on their own. Have students make a game of Go Fish to practice homophones. Share the homophones among the group. Have each student write their words and also draw a picture or symbol that represents the meaning of the word on individual index cards. Once the cards are created, shuffle them and play Go Fish as a group. Students must use the homophone correctly in a sentence when looking for a match. (Idea from https://busyteacher.org/8185-tips-for-teaching-homophones.html).
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If you are interested in print and play games to use with small groups, I have board games, Connect 4/5/6, match, picture board activities with spinners, card games, Guess My Word, and more are in line with Within Word Pattern Words Their Way types.
WORD STUDY NOTEBOOKS: A resource I created as a companion to the Words Their Way program that I use and rely on when meeting with my small groups is Within Word Pattern Spellers Notebook Activities. The notebook activities go beyond traditional spelling activities and scaffold students to go into a deeper analysis of word study concepts.
In the Word Pattern Word Study activities, students can be asked to identify short and long vowel sounds, make words with an initial vowel or blend + an ending (beginning + rhyme), choose the correct beginning letters, vowels or rhymes to make a word completion, write silly sentences to match the meaning of homophones, make contractions, make words plural and more!
When I created these notebooks for my students, I kept the gradual release model in mind and usually introduced the activity during a small group class, had the students work together as I scaffolded their work, and then rotated them to complete individual sheets independently. to apply their learning further.
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