Students have started, group by group, to bring home their spelling activity page to complete at home.
The front page provides students with three activity choices, but they only need to complete 2 of the 3.
Choice 1: 2 Sorts with an Adult Helper
An important part to every activity is the “key words.” These determine how the words are to be sorted. Students are grouping words that have the same pattern, sound, or both. Sometimes sorts include an “oddball” card. This means there is at least one word that does not follow the patterns/sounds seen in any of the other words or categories. When students meet with me the day after cutting out their new sort, we sort the words and determine which oddballs, if any, are included in their sort.
If the sort has only pictures, that means students are focusing in on the common sounds found in their sort. For example, one sort has pictures of words that have either a “ch” sound or “sh” sound at the front. They should be grouping the pictures into these two categories.
In this activity choice, students should place down their “key words” first, such as the following:
pig cup oddball
Students will then spread out their other words in front of them and find words that have the same “i” sound as “pig” and placing those words underneath the key word. They will also be sorting words under “cup” that have the same “u” sound.
pig cup oddball
zip jug put
…and so on. However, this example sort has an oddball word. They have the word “put,” which has a “u,” but does not make the same sound as all of the other “u” vowel word. This makes it an oddball. They should place that word under oddball. When students are placing the words during this first sort, they should be reading the words out loud to you so they can hear the sounds their looking for.
Students should be able to sort all of their words into these categories and explain why the words go under the key word they do (or why it is an oddball).
For the second sort (the “speed sort”), students mix all of their words back up, place the “key words” in front of them, and then sort the words again as quickly as they can (set a timer). They should check their work afterwards. For each word placed in the incorrect category, they will add 1 second to their time. Their time is recorded on the homework sheet. Please sign/initial when activity is completed.
Choice 2: Blind Sort
During the blind sort, students still place their key words in front of them. Then their helper will be holding all of the words from the sort and will read off one word at a time. Without actually seeing the word, but instead just listening to it read, students point to the key word it matches. (For example, if the helper reads the word “bit,” the student should point to the key word “pig,” because it fits that category). The helper should place the word under the key word chosen by the student. The student then looks at the word and checks that is correct. If it is not in the correct category, they should try again and check that it is now placed with the correct key word.
This activity is not timed. Please sign/initial when activity is completed.
Choice 3: Word Hunt
Word hunts help students see the connection between spelling words and reading words. In word hunts, students hunt through their reading and writing for words that are additional examples of the sound or pattern shown in their key words. This can be combined with their 10 minute reading assignment!
First, students should write their key words across the top of the word hunt activity on their homework page (this row of spaces is labeled with “key words”)
As they read, if they spot a word that has the same pattern as a key word, they record it on their sheet. For example, using the same sort as the above activities, if they are reading a book and come across the word “sit,” they can write it under the key word “pig.”
If they have trouble finding words in the books being read, they can also brainstorm with their helper about their key words and try to come up with other words that fit. They do not need to find them in text, but this helps build connections between the two subjects. It often helps to think of rhyming words.
The back page should be completed last. This is when students practice writing the words when they are read to them one by one. Similar to the other activities, students should start with the key words being written down. When a word is read to them, they should write it under the corresponding key word. Afterwards, have them check their spelling, comparing it to the word cards. If they spell a word incorrectly, the student should draw a line through it and re-write the word correctly. The letters they were incorrect on or had missing should be written in big, heavy writing to help those stand out for the student.
All of these activities are practiced in class, so as the year goes on, students will become more familiar and comfortable with the process. Once they receive their homework page for the new sort, they may complete the activities on any day. There is not a specific activity for a specific day. If they would like to do a couple of activities in one evening, they may do this. They may also choose to spread out which days they work on these activities.
Students should bring their spelling folder back to school each day. The words are used both at home and at school (though you may keep the homework page at home until the due date). We will see how they do! 🙂 If students have trouble remembering to bring words back and forth, I may send home an extra set of words to have at home and have them keep a set at school. Unless that is an issue, I value the opportunity for students to show responsibility in keeping track of this folder and their words.
One last note:
Some sorts have key words that include headings such as “CVC.” The “C” stands for consonant and the “V” stands for vowel. This means students would be looking for a consonant, vowel, consonant pattern in words (such as in the word “crab“). “CVCe” would mean consonant, vowel, consonant, + the letter “e“ at the end (such as in the word “cape“). When you see “short” or “long” in the heading of the key word, this means they are listening for a short or long vowel.
This spelling program takes some getting used to, but builds up skills in both reading and writing! The students enjoy the activities they get to do with partners and have done well explaining why words are sorted in specific categories.
Please let me know if you have any questions! I will also be posting the words sorted correctly so you may support your child in these activities. You’ll see some interesting spelling group names, as they were chosen by our students… 🙂
“The Superheroes,” “Lambies, Ponies, and Marties,” and “The Cheetahs” will be getting their homework starting next week.