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?