Thursday, October 4, 2012

Word Study- and what to do with those kids who already know everything you're teaching

When I was officially offered my first job as a second grade teacher, I was ecstatic.  I had been working hard for this, and was so glad that I finally was going to get the chance to have my own classroom with 20 or so little ones that think I am the best thing since XBOX - sad but true (back in my day, my teacher was the best thing since anything that had to do with playing outside!)

Then, I started thinking about how I was going to do everything.  I already knew Reader's and Writer's workshop were a must, not only because I love them, but because it's a county wide initiative.. [ and if you don't use reader's and writer's workshop, I HIGHLY recommend it! ]- and this I had already taught when I covered a long term leave, so I wasn't too worried.. Plus I have a pretty awesome team, so they would be sure to be a major help for mini-lessons etc.

Then math.. well, our county uses Math Expressions, so I was pretty good with that.. 

Science & Social Studies.. The NC Essential Standards are pretty straight forward- just have to be creative..

Word Study... Ugh, word study.. This is where I really struggled when I subbed in third grade at the beginning of last year.  We were using the Words their Way books, which are good, but.. 1.) It's hard to keep up with 3-4 separate groups of spelling patterns and 2.) The kids just weren't getting it.  When I became the TA for the last 3/4 of the year in 2nd grade last year, the kids were given 10 words from their assigned pattern.  I quickly noticed that MOST, not all, but most of the students just memorized their 10 words, and the next time they had to spell a word with that pattern.. 7 times out of 10, it was wrong..  so I really thought a lot about word study and did a lot of research.  I fell in absolute { LOVE LOVE LOVE } with Beth Newingham's word study program.  You can read about it here.  Basically, the students all work on the same spelling pattern, but study words that are appropriate to their current spelling abilities of the pattern for the week.  Students not only practice their assigned pattern words, but other words that fit the pattern, and are given a test on 10 words that they have seen, but have not studied.  It's a great way to see if the kids actually learned the pattern, and not memorized the words.

SO.. I was going to get started right away coming up with the patterns and lists, but decided to do a little more research and came across the most wonderful thing EVER!  Hope King had already created the lists!! Thank Goodness!  She saved me a lot of time and frustration that I was able to put into other things.. The best part is, Her Second Grade Word Work was only $10!! If you are looking for a new spelling program, I highly suggest checkout out Beth Newingham's ideas and saving yourself a lot of time and money and buying the lists from Hope.  She even includes letters to the parents to help them understand the pattern, and menu activities that kids can complete for homework.  Serious Awesomeness!

So, as far as the sight words/high frequency words go, I have a large handful of kiddos who have already mastered K/1/2 words and I was looking for a way to challenge them in this area.  I had thought about using Vocabulary instead, but then decided that the class needs vocab as a whole (Especially with Common Core!) so one day I was flipping through my Fountas and Pinnell resource book (We use this kit for running records) and found a whole bunch of word lists ranging from a 20 word list, and up.  So I decided to take the 200 word list and give this to my kiddos.  I decided to give them only the 2nd half of them, because the first half seemed like words they would already know.  I created flash cards for them to bring home to study.. So far, this seems to be working out and the parents are happy!  :D  How do you keep your kids challenged??  I would love to hear your ideas, and not just for word study!!

If you've been reading up until now, I think you definitely deserve something.. That was a lot of words. So leave a comment with your e-mail and I will send you the flashcards I created to use with your kids.. The first 5 to comment will get these!  You have to print/cut/hole punch/ put on a book ring or string... but I think they're really great!  Or, you could have your students cut them out!!  (I put them on a book ring to keep them all in one spot)

Ok, Ok, I think that's been enough for now.. :)


  1. Hey Ash! I would love your flashcards :) Thank you so much!

  2. Wow! I would love your flashcards! Thanks!