Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Wednesday Word Work: Exploration

Favorite shelf of word study and poetry books.
Typically the poetry shelf is jammed pack; however,
every student has a book in their desk for this week's
Poetry Friday celebration.
I had a little extra kick in my step this week with word work because I was constantly thinking.  I went straight to the source. My amazing and vocal group of learners in Room 234.  I shared with them that I was blogging about word work, and I wanted to continue the conversation from last week about EXPLORATION.  I asked a few students during indoor recess:  What's your favorite part of word study? 
  • your word study book tub (which continues to grow out of the tub)
  • word observations
  • having fun with words on Poetry Friday
  • sorting words (introductory lesson for most new skills)
  • having our own word notebook (always have a basket ready to choose from)
Word observations is a routine I start early in the year and my students continue to use this strategy throughout the year especially syllable boxes to help them with their spelling.   It's the opportunity to notice the word features.  

  1. Count the vowels plus consonants = letters (write an addition problem)
  2. Using that information, build syllable boxes (one of the most important rules in spelling every syllable has a vowel in it)
  3. Teaching why "y" is a vowel and a consonant (it's really neat if you have a student who's name is Ryan because y is a vowel) depending on if it is in a box without another vowel
  4. Part of speech
  5. Definition 
  6. Sentence showing meaning
first word observation of the year
Thanks for stopping by on Wednesday. I am excited to learn along with you as we explore word work. If you decide to post leave your link in the comment section.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Slice of Life: Continued Learning

It’s Tuesday and time to share about a little Slice about my  Life.  I’m so thankful for opportunities to continue having professional conversations and questioning my practices.  On Saturday, I attended the Dublin Literacy Conference.  From listening to  Kylene Beers and Bob Probst as they opened the day with their keynote.  I was over the top with new learning. Questions were posed to the audience and my head just continued to nod up and down with agreement.  My brain was overpowered with all the concepts.

As important to me, actually more important to me are the friendships that I have developed through Slicing, Celebrating and blogging.  Saturday was about friendship and conversations.  In all the sessions, leaning over and saying “What a smart idea!” as Kristin Ziemke talked about integrating technology with her first graders.  Big take away moments included:
  • Using text like "Thank You Mam" by Langston Hughes several times with several purposes
  • Nonfiction strategies:  The Three Questions from Beers and Probst new book
  • importance of talk (what type of questions are we asking?) I need to really work on this
  • teach students to "work around" an issue - there's more than one path to an answer both in text and having questions.
  • modeling that teachers don't have all the answers
  • importance of feedback from peers and how to model it  (fishbowl) 
  • justification vs. explanation
As I read all of these take away moments, my thoughts are everywhere.  I have learned over the years attending several conferences to choose one and start small.  I chose the Nonfiction strategies - the three questions.  I went home, rewrote my lesson plans, researched on line and jumped into the new learning together yesterday.  It's so much fun when you attend a conference and you're automatically drawn in and ready to implement something new.  Thanks to all the Slicers I always enjoy sharing a moment of my life and reading about a moment of yours.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Saturday Celebration #WWW

It's Saturday and time to Celebrate.  I'm always thankful when it is mid week and I have already decided about my celebration for the week.  I hope that isn't cheating starting my blog post early on Thursday and waiting until Saturday to push the publish button.  I am thankful for Ruth for encouraging us to celebrate.  Today as you read this post I will be at the Dublin Literacy Conference which is always a highlight of my winter.   I will be tweeting my new learning #dublit16 feel free to follow along and learn side by side.  Here is the link up this week. 

My celebration is simple but makes me happy.  I've been struggling with writing lately.  There are way too many posts to link back to that talks about not having my writing voice.  I've learn a few lessons about writing and the biggest one has been that sometimes we are our own worst critic.  As I think about my #OLW16 (quest) I chose that word purposefully to move me in my writing.  I've found my niche again and I'm excited.  My passion is vocabulary.  I'm constantly thinking about it, wondering why authors choose that specific word, collecting words from EVERYWHERE.  It's in my DNA and I have decided that is where my writing is leading me.  Down a path to share my journeys.  I am not sure of the big picture ahead but for right now the quest I'm on is worth celebrating.  I would encourage you to join me in in blogging on Wednesdays about word work. if you do leave a comment on my post and we can link up. Here's to s a Super Saturday of living and learning. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Wednesday Word Work: Mapping the Course

With anything we teach routines are crucial for students and teachers. In our district, we have Grade Level Progressions to follow, and I am thankful for that map which helps me plan the lessons. In addition we are required to do 10-15 minutes word work a day; however, I always go over this time because I am weaving the skills into so many different content areas. 

Building excitement with words - teaching my students that words are everywhere!
Routines are established around three important principles to develop and encourage strong wordsmiths in my classroom.
  1. exploration
  2.  practice
  3. connections
  4. assessments
Exploration is my favorite part of word study. Nothing is better than when students are looking, thinking and working with new words. Several years ago I read Max Brand's book Word Savvy and it changed my word work teaching instantly. Here is the link to that post. After the students spend the first week discussing their names and practicing with them, we stretch our word learning to outside the classroom. See photo above. Our first month of word work is focused on the following:
  • assessing our students through a spelling and sentence dictation
  • word observations
  • word connections
  • word webs
  • word sorts
My goal is to encourage students to think differently about word work. One way I incorporate fun with words is collecting greeting cards all year. It's fun each month to pull out new cards and share them with the students eventually my students start to bring me their "fun" with words ideas. Here are some past blog posts about building fun in word work. 
Thanks for stopping by on Wonderful Wednesday I am excited to learn along with you as we explore word work.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Launching Wednesday Word Work

It's Wednesday, and I am always thankful for Wednesday.  Half way through the week which is a celebration on both ends. 2 days completed and 2 more for learning.  I love sharing with my students my favorite phrases for the days of the week. 
  • Marvelous Monday
  • Terrific Tuesday
  • Wonderful Wednesday
  • Tremendous Thursday
  • Fabulous Friday
I wonder do any of you have habits likes these that just make you happy?  I'm not sure my students even notice anymore that this is how our morning message starts everyday.  But I'm thrilled when I type it every morning for them. 

Thanks ML for my writer's notebook and here are some of my favorite words.
I am intrigued by words and collect them in all my notebooks typically on the inside and back cover.  I often find myself thinking more about the words than the story.  I find myself stuck often if I don't know a word even with using context clues.  I like getting my old Webster's dictionary,not Googling it.  I preach to my students about word work.  The importance of noticing the authors' word choice as well as the spelling. 

I purchase cheap little notebooks all summer so when the students get ready to start their own they can choose from the basket.  This happens quickly in my classroom because I share my notebooks and how I collect words.  I read amazing picture books to get them excited. Have you read the following titles? Here is the link to favorite 10for10 picture books about focusing on creating curiosity about words.  I also have several word games in my classroom that my students play every Friday. After we celebrate Poetry Friday, the students play word games and this is my chance to work with small groups to help them with their spelling patterns.  My recent group has been focused on the different Long "o" sounds.  

I've been searching for ways to share more on my blog about my teaching life. Lately it feels like I'm slicing and celebrating which are really important to me personally.  Often those posts include school and personal life.  But I asked a friend recently about being stuck in my writing, and she said I always start with what I know and love - words!  I am going to try and post on Wonderful Wednesday about word work.  Is anyone interested in joining me?  Do you have any thought about future posts for word work in your classroom? After all it only takes, two of us for a conversation.