I have had several e-mails asking how I teach phonics, spelling, wordwork etc. Our word work program is always a work in progress, but I am happy with where we are right now. Spelling is a developmental curriculum area, so just like our reading and math, we believe that we need to meet our students where they are. Rather than giving all of our students the same list of words to practice, and giving them a spelling test on Fridays, we have our students choose their own words. We choose 2-3 "chunks" each week from which to develop and grow word knowledge. We teach the phonics rules through the chunks, use the chunks in reading, Daily 5 word work, poetry, etc. After brainstorming as many words as we can think of that have those chunks, our kiddos begin selecting their own words. We encourage our higher level kids to choose more difficult words, and at the same time our striving learners to stick with the more basic words. On Fridays, we have our Spell Check. Students have a folder in which they store all their recording sheets. We pronounce the chunk one at a time, as the kids write the chunk and three words that include that chunk.
We also have opportunity for kids to work on "Words To Know" or the sight words that we expect our first graders to be able to write with automaticity by the end of the year. We choose about 3 words each week for the kids to practice. Check for mastery happens during our Spell Check and during writing conferences during the week.
I truly believe that when students are given the power to choose their own words, the level of committment and ownership we see in our students and their work is unsurpassed.
I have already posted about word work during Daily 5, but if you missed it you can click here .
The next few pics are sample of my chunk challenge unit. It will give you an idea of how you can easily get started. The pack contains letters to parents, brainstorming recording sheets, lists of chunks and "Words to Know," a Spell Check recording sheet, a poem about spelling, Anchor charts and other things.
I also wanted to include some editable pages with this unit, so you could integrate the unit into your program.
I would love to hear how you are teaching spelling, phonics, word work, etc. in your classroom. Let's work together to give our kiddos the best!