Sunday, July 31, 2011

Daily 5: Word Work

I've been reflecting on the Daily 5 as the new school year approaches.  After doing some thinking and reading up on the sisters' website I've decided to make some changes to the "word work" choice in my classroom. 

I've decided to scale things down this year and remember the motto K.I.S.S. (keep it simple stupid!) when it comes to word work and work on writing.  Too many choices caused confusion for my students and the addition of irresistable "center-like" games and activities to word work took away from practice time for high frequency and spelling patterns.

This year I will follow the recommendations of the two sisters (authors of The Daily 5) more closely.

I plan to have students practice their assigned words for 10 minutes only once stamina is built.  They will take a timer with them and move into additional read-to-self time for the rest of the choice (10-15 minutes).  When just focusing on making words that will be plenty of time for focused practice.  I've also considered trying to combine some of our Words Their Way daily work (sorting, abc order, sentences, etc) into this time, but that would require all of my students to do word work each day and eliminate the element of choice. :(

Students who choose word work will have the following options for materials:

1. Whiteboards & CoLoReD Markers
-This will be the only time they get to use the "fancy" markers, so they'll LOVE it!

2. Magnetic Letters & Cookie Sheets

3. Salt Box
-I just discovered this idea online and I'm so excited about it - pour about 1/4" of salt in the bottom of a container. Students use their finger to spell the word in the salt, give it a little shake and it disappears!  I'll also have fancy unsharpened pencils available to use to spell the words.  Sometimes it's easier that way when the words are fairly long.

4. Alphabet Stamps
-I bought "smelly" stamp pads last year that the kids love to use for this activity.

5. Stone Spell
-The sisters suggest having students use tiny shells to form their words. They suggested dried beans as another option, which is what I was going to do...until I found these awesome "river rocks" at Family Dollar. I bought three bags at $1 each, which will be plenty for 2-3 students to do this activity at once.

This is what it looks like:

That's it!  Nice and simple. I'm hoping this will help my students be less worried about the materials and more focused on making the words. There will be a natural limit to how many students are at word work at once with only 2 of each option set up to grab off the word work shelf. I plan to stick with these five options for the entire school year. I fear they will get bored, but I'm going to take the sisters word for it and trust they won't!  I will introduce and model each activity at the beginning of the year - waiting till they show independence with one before starting another. Just thought I'd share my plan. 

How do YOU manage word work during the Daily 5?


Sarah Adams said...

Hi there! I am new to blogging and found your site! I was wondering where you got the "smelly" ink pads? Those sound awesome! I also teach second grade and will be trying some of your word work ideas! My kids love to do the "rainbow" write. They write each spelling word and trace it 4-5 times with different colors, so they look rainbowish :) Thanks!

Donut Diva said...

i love the idea of the rocks. i use magnets which they put on the heaters. I also have wiki sticks, red pens which they can make curly letters, rainbow words, and they love love love watercolors. i think i will use your salt idea too. my problem is where to store all these things. Also starting off in the beginning ofthe year teaching them and limiting the amount of centers at time until they all can do them quietly.

Laura said...

Here's the link for the scented ink pads --

Now you've got me thinking I should also have rainbow writing as an additional option. I like the idea of writing over the word with multiple colors. I've done it in the past but they switched markers after each letter - so it took too long to write each word. I may get 1 or 2 cutesy "rainbow" notebooks and label it Rainbow Words. Then everyone will use that same notebook if they choose that option and just flip to the next blank page. Thanks for sharing your ideas!

~*~Ash~*~ said...

Hey Laura! I just found your site and I'm loving it! :) I was thinking about letting my students use an overhead projector to do something with word work this year. I LOVE writing out the words with rocks. Very neat.
Also, I did a "virtual tour" post and it shows my reading nooks. I have an ocean canopy that I LOVE!
Here's a link:

+Teaching Happily Ever After
~Creative Teaching with a Technology Twist~

New2thisteacher said...

I love our ideas for word work. Thanks for sharing : )

Mrs. Proper said...

LOVE the idea of the rocks! I use beads and it's such a disaster. They are EVERYWHERE!!

I don't do word work as a Daily 5 choice. I give the kids 15ish minutes to work on word work. That gives me 15 minutes each day to meet with a group for word work. I use the Words their Way approach to spelling, so I have, typically, 3 different spelling groups. Then when we have Daily 4 instead of Daily 5 for the rest of the choices.

It works for me because I believe the kids NEED that time each day to practice their spelling.

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