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Monday, June 20, 2011

3rd grade Words Their Way

So I have been learning more about Words their Way by Bear, Invernizzi, Templeton and Johnston. Has anyone out their tried this idea in their classroom?

Last year, I went to a complete word work approach in my classroom. Much less emphasis on memorizing spelling words. The kids did pretty well, and the feedback from parents was good. I used our district supplied list of 120 words that they feel all 3rd graders should be able to spell.

This year, I am going to assess my students at the beginning of the year, and use that to determine the list of words they will use for word work and for any type of assessment. Does anyone have any tips for me? Years ago, I used individualized lists, so that part is not too frightening to me. I am just wondering what successes or concerns people have had after using this book as their guide.

I am very interested in feedback from people about this. Let me know what you think...


Mrs. Roper said...

Hi! Welcome to blogging! I am kinda new at it myself. I have tried and used many aspects from the Words Their Way program and my biggest concern is time, my district gives me 90 minutes for reading and in 3rd grade the biggest focus is on comprehension so I did not have time to break the class into their own groups. What I did end up doing is giving the assessment and meeting the class in the middle -so I did it whole group- luckily my students were very similar in their spelling development for the most part. I really love their individual books for each spelling stage (they are about 20.00 on amazon) they give you the word cards to use and a lesson for introducing the words which is very helpful as they introduce words differently depending on what is being taught. I loved the sorts for teaching prefixes and suffixes especially and will continue to use them for that this year. I did have my students doing a different kind of sort each day, but did not see a lot of transfer over to writing, so if I were to continue with the program I would include more writing of the words. I love the sorting lessons and will still use them during word work but for 'spelling' I am going to try Month by Month Phonics' Word Wall routine (by 4 Blocks). Good luck!

Jennifer Gibson said...

Thank you for your input. I am anxious to see how this all works, and I appreciate your help with resources.

I find that few kids have carry over into their writing--even when they are pretty good spellers.

I'll try to update during the year how it is all going...

Thanks again!

Emily Kissner said...

Hello! If you're trying out Words Their Way, I agree that it's helpful to have the companion books that have the word sorts for the different levels. For third grade, you'll probably have a few still at Letter Name/Alphabetic as well as at various places in Within Word Patterns. Three groups are the most that I have been able to manage at a time.

To help with the carry over problem, I also have kids do some writing with their words throughout the cycle. They love trying to create silly stories that combine the different words in new and unexpected ways.

Good luck!

Dianne Duncan said...

I just started using words in my 3rd grade class... I hope to get more info on it.

Abby Niles said...


Hopefully, someone will see this and could help alleviate my worry. I'm researching this program right now because my school has just started doing it and I'm not thrilled with what I'm seeing. My daughter is a very intelligent child, who is in the composure program and reads at a fifth grade level. She just started 3rd grade. Last year she placed out of spelling and didn't have spelling words the last three months of school, instead her teacher gave her vocabulary words to learn.

Last Friday she was given this assessment test and was placed in the "pink" group, which she is calling the easy group and from what I am seeing on some of the pages I am reading what the teachers would call the "low kids" group.

I'm completely stunned by what she is doing, my daughter is upset and I can't grasp how this is helping her at all. Her words this week were cat, bat, mat, fat etc. And she had to take those words and match them to their picture. Match their picture. This makes absolutely no sense to me. She was doing that in kindergarten. This is not third grade level work and I'm scared to death she is now going to fall behind when she was actually ahead because of this program.

I'd appreciate any input you can give me. I have a conference with her teacher tomorrow, but I'd like as much information as I can get. Thank you.