Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Words...help!


I was thinking about how my 4-year old has been interested in words. He asks me to sit down at night and help him write words in his notebook (just a spiral that we picked up for cents). He spells and writes his name (sometimes with the letters stacked upon one another...then the teacher in me has to jump in with a directionality lesson). I am also talking to him about family names...pop, nana, mom, dad. These words are perfect for him to remember because they are patterned. He remembers these names and can write them. We take time to go back and read them. I was thinking about how he knows he can spell some words independently and that one of my goals for word study is for my first grade students to know and be aware of themselves as spellers. I want them to spell familiar names, high frequency words and learn word patterns that will help them spell bigger words. What I feel stuck on is how to assess the knowledge of high frequency words in the context of student writing...do you have a system set up for this? I have assessed the spelling of these words in isolation but I am wondering how other classrooms/ schools handle the issue of high frequency words in authentic writing. Any thoughts would help...

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Katie! Andrea at Chapman. I just had a similar conversation with Franki regarding this: can we hold young kids responsible for sight words in their writing? How can we help them transfer known words so they are an organic, working part of their writing? She mentioned the new Regie Routman book as a resource. Let's talk to her about it!

Jenny said...

I'm not sure how helpful this will be (I teach 5th grade), but here's what we do. Students have a word study notebook for all of the work we do, sorting words and such. One part of the notebook is their words to learn list. Any words I notice them consistently misspelling in their writing (any writing, homework, classwork, etc) I put on a post-it note for them to put on their words to learn list. Then they create individualized spelling lists every few weeks. These lists include words from whatever spelling pattern we are studying and from their words to learn list. They study those words for a week or so and do a lot of activities with them. We take a spelling test eventually. Anything they miss on their spelling test goes onto their words to learn list again.

They also have small books with common words in them to use like the word wall. This book can be added to so that it serves as a useful resource for them.

Jen Barney said...

Katie... wow! I don't know what to say. My six year old is just getting into that spelling freenzy. We have to spell everything he is saying so we have word strips and he is writing it as we go. I put it on a clip so that he has it here at home.

Sarah Amick said...

I do a couple of mini lessons when I am teaching editing. We discuss the editing stuff and then we talk about words that we should know. We generate a list of words that is student led and then we chart those. Those words I expect them to write in their writing. Now you know there are some exceptions, those kiddos that are low readers will not be able to accomplish this. However, I do assess them in isolation to see if they can read and write them on their own.

katied said...

Thank you Andrea, Jenny, Jen and Sarah!

All of your comments helped me think about these words and my next steps...

A-Yes...Regie! I am on it! (and hear it is good)

Jenny...love your words to learn list. I can transfer this to 1st high frequency words. I need to create a system that is easy. Thank you!!

Jen-
How interesting...my four year old and I were writing tonight and of course he was trying to remember what a p looked like. I made an alphabet page in his notebook so he could refer back to it. He loved it and keeps reciting the alphabet! Kids need supports.

Sarah-
I am in the same spot thinking that the tricky kids won't get the words but am being challenged that all kids should know and spell 100 high frequency words by end of 1st or for some 2nd grade. Any more thoughts? I have seen my tricky kids who get reading recovery services are able to read the 1st 30 we've covered this year but I do not see them spelling the words correctly in isolation or in their writing.

Sarah Amick said...

The first 30 are the reading recovery words. They must read and write them. That transferrance of knowledge is crucial. I keep one student after small group instruction(guided reading) lesson and use a dry erase to spell certain words. I think that they will have more experience as they become stronger readers. Are those same high frequency words on your spelling tests? Do you do making words for work stations? Have you played the follow the path game with those high frequency words? (Not criticizing just asking?)
It's tricky, those kiddos have so much coming at them already, I just keep the flashcards and dry erase boards going for them, they need that extra practice. I also send home a list of words we should be able to read and spell for parents to "assess" with their students.
Experience is really the key. They need the experience of reading it in text really.

katied said...

Sorry, I was out of town this weekend and just responding. You know we do not give spelling tests weekly and have not played the follow th path game...it sounds like we should. I do send a list of words they can/cannot read in isolation but not spell. I agree that experiencing them in text is crucial (I think my kids get the most experience with this) but am thinking we need more. Thanks so much for your response!!

Franki and Mary Lee said...

No wisdom about primary word work. Instead, YOU'VE BEEN MEMED!

http://readingyear.blogspot.com/2007/12/7-things-meme.html