Just like reading, children are at different stages of spelling development and their activities should reflect that. Once the activities have been taught to the kids (directions included), students can be interacting with their sorts by doing a variety of activities throughout the week. Between home and school, kids should be interacting with their sorts at least 6-8 times throughout the week. These charts can be made into posters, printed and laminated on the front of a word study folder or three-hole punched for a binder. Your students will have a predictable structure each week! There are two flowcharts for sorts 1-6 (picture sorts) and one for sorts 7-50 (words). They are also in black and white. We all have a wide range of learners and you are apt to have someone in your class that falls in this stage of spelling.
The following is an explanation of the activities:
• Zip-line Within a group, each child is assigned a color and on the back of the sort, takes a crayon and quickly draws vertical and horizontal lines and then cuts out the sort. By coloring the sort, the child will know which is his/hers
• Write word sorts-Students write the words into the same categories developed during the hands-on sorting using the same key words or headers. They can also be asked to write a generalization or the big idea about this word sort.
• Word operations-Students can change a letter (or letters) of a selected word to make new words. Initial letters or orthographic units (word parts). Might be substituted to create lists of words that rhyme. For example, starting with the word black, a student might substitute other consonant blends or digraphs to generate stack, quack, track, shack and so on. Students with more complex words might substitute prefixes, suffixes or roots- for example, using graph to generate autograph, biography, photography and photograph.
• Record words from word hunts in trade books and response journals-Students add new words from their reading and writing to the written sorts in their notebooks.
• Blind Sort-A picture or word sort done with a partner in which students who are responsible for sorting but cannot see the word. They must attend to the sounds and sometimes visualize the spelling pattern to determine the category
• Blind Writing Sort-A variant of a blind sort in which one student (or teacher) names a word without showing it to another student, who must write it in the correct category under a key word.
• Speed Sort-Using a timer and a graph, students race against the clock to sort their sorts correctly, increasingly beating their previous time and graphing it on a personal graph.
• Word Hunts- Students use their guided reading book, picture dictionaries or independent reading book to find words that match a given pattern and add them to their word study journal.
• Homophones-In this stage many sorts will contain homophones so an activity might be to have students identify homophones and in their word work journals, illustrate the word and provide a sentence to match
• Draw and Label-Students sort again at their seats or in a center and then extend the feature through drawing and labeling activities that ask students to think of other word that have the same beginning sound. Students are encouraged to write as much of the word as they can, using invented spelling to label their drawings. Teacher can assess these spellings to judge student progress in hearing and representing sounds.
• Cut and Paste-After sorting several times students can paste the picture sorts into categories and label them. Or children can look through magazines for pictures that begin with a particular sound. These pictures are cut out, pasted into categories or into an alphabet book and labeled.
• Games can be played with a partner; Go Fish, Concentration or your own games
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