Saturday, August 11, 2012

Daily 5, Reading workshop, and spelling

I go back to work Tuesday and the kids come on Thursday. I have now hit the time of year where my brain will not turn off and I can't sleep. It's terrible. I woke up at like 3 and had the worst time going to back to sleep. Although when I was asleep, apparently I pushed Chris and told him to get off me. I don't remember that at all. I do remember thinking I had no space to sleep.Oh well. In my tossing and turning, I started thinking about school and what was going on. I got a great brainstorm about spelling. I've been blogging about how I want to make a change in spelling and make it more on my students' levels. But I've got a lot of changes going on this next year with full implementation on Daily 5 and math workstations. In all the common core and assessment talk that we went through last week, one thing stuck out in my brain. Using pre-assessments, to push kids further. I've always done a "pre-test" in spelling on Wednesday but that's not truly a pre test. This year I plan to give a pretest on Monday on the week's spelling words. If the student knows 90% of the words then  that student will be given a little bit harder list of words for the week. I am not firm in my 90%. I am not sure how to handle that. If they get a 90% on the test then that means they missed one. I don't know that they need to focus on 9 words that they already know if they only missed one. (Any input on handling this would be appreciated). The second thing I'm not sure of is where to get the new list of words. I'm thinking that the words would still follow the rule that the rest of the class is focusing on. For example, the first week of spelling words are short a words. They are basic cvc words. I think several of my kids will know all these words. What I'm thinking is that I would find a list of words that still uses short a but involves some blends and digraphs. Any suggestions of where to get these words would be appreciated. I've also been thinking about the tasks that I'm asking kids to do during the spelling time. In the past we've done rainbow spelling. While I think they need some practice writing the words, I'm not sure that it's the best use of time. I added word sorts last year and I think that was great. We also practiced putting the words into alphabetical order. What other activities should I include that is worth the time?
Another thought going through my mind at 4 in the morning was how I was going to structure Daily 5. I'm starting to panic about actually implementing the structures of Daily 5. I have been setting up my room to support a daily 5 structure. I have set up the classroom library so more of my books are accessible for the kids. The next step was a writing area and a word work area. I'm worried that I don't have enough materials for word work. I think I might be panicking and am going to be more likely to fall back into my literacy stations comfort zone. So maybe I need a pep talk from my bloggy friends knowing that I can do this. As I've been reading more about reading workshop, I know that I want to incorporate this into my teaching as well. So I'm trying to figure out how to merge the two ideas. The way I'm thinking of this is that I use my read to self and reading workshop time as the same time. Instead of giving my kids the choice of read to self as part of the daily 5, that would be separate. I want there to be a focused time on reading and increasing their skills. Any thoughts on this from my bloggy friends? So this is what I was thinking about at 4 in the morning.
On a side note, I'm participating in the Back to school sale at TPT starting tomorrow. I also have all my items on my TN store on sale as well. So be sure to check it out.


  1. I've been out of town for a while. I like your blog's new look. :) My spelling words come from the students' writing. That might be an option for you.
    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

  2. Your blog is super cute. I love the new layout! Since I teach kindergarten, I've never really had a spelling program. But I imagine what I would do is google list of words that follow certain rules by grade.

  3. Activities for word work are numerous: wikki sticks, stamps, magazine cutting letters to make words, punch prints, playdough, letter beads and strings, rainbow words using a variety of materials(markers, colored pencils, twistables, colored glue), magnets, letter blocks, word bottles(ricw in the bottle with words and a recording sheet to write them on. Sorry I just labeled my word work shelf in my room, so those are all frsh on my mind.

    I think you are in the right idea with making spelling words just a tad harder by adding a blend instead of cvc when they have mastered it.

    I too am thinking I am going to be trying to change too much. Implementing daily 5, doing more instruction on drawing pictures in writing, and using dolch word lists to help get my k's further in their reading.

    At least we have the blogging world to turn to to help keep us on the daily 5 path once we get started because it seems many people are going to daily 5, so you won't be alone!
    Mrs. Shelton's Kindergarten

  4. After seeing the Sisters last summer at the Daily 5 and this summer at Cafe our take-away thoughts are that reading workshop is the blending of Daily 5 and Cafe. While you are conferring and teaching strategies in mini-lessons, small groups and individually (Cafe), the Daily 5 (or 3 depending on time) provides a meaningful structure for authentic reading and writing practice for students. We are delighted with the changes we've seen in our K and 1st classrooms since implementing these techniques. There's a very helpful Lucy Calkins video on You-Tube about reading workshop that seems to support this. We're still pretty new to all this but would be glad to learn with you if you want - perhaps by email?

  5. Once you have figured it out I would love to know as I am right with you! I too am looping from K to first and want to make these changes and am starting to panic :)

    Jessica O'Connell