Launching Word Work with Older Students


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Word Work generates many questions for teachers and students. What materials are used? What words are practiced? Is this my spelling program? What about vocabulary? When are new words introduced and practiced?

Daily 5 is the foundation of our literacy block upon which everything is built. It has no content or lesson plans, it is simply a structure for dispersing instruction and practice time. The CAFE is where we get the content with which to teach the skills of reading writing, spelling and vocabulary.

Because Daily 5 focuses on teaching the behaviors of reading, writing, listening and manipulating words, each teacher is able to bring their own curriculum, materials and favorite lessons to the structure and have them fit beautifully. Similarly, Word Work is a system for teaching children how to practice words, so your spelling, vocabulary sight word and phonics programs can be infused into the structure seamlessly.

Gail and Heather introduce Word Work in this lesson. You'll notice how quickly the I-chart is produced, since this is the third Daily 5 they have launched. Gail even reminds students that many of the brainstormed behaviors are the same as Read to Self and Work on Writing. As the behaviors are written, Gail makes sure they are observable. When one student says, "not bothering others", Gail helps clarify by asking, "If you are not bothering others, what would that look like?"

An important part of Work on Writing is manipulating and managing materials. Heather's class has a wonderful saying, 'We respect our materials as tools not toys.' The students have a chance in this video to discuss what that looks like in their class.

In the next video of this series, Gail and Heather finish the conversation, "Where do you get your words for practicing?"


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