Posts made in June, 2014

Writers on Writing

Posted by on Jun 28, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Aristotle Quote

Read More

A Beginning of the School Year Freebie

Posted by on Jun 26, 2014 in Uncategorized | 4 comments

Just a quick share! Fun for the kids, insightful for the teacher.

Me MathMe Math

Thanks for stopping by!


Read More

My Kids Can’t Spell!

Posted by on Jun 23, 2014 in Freebies, scavenger hunt, word study | 0 comments

My Kids Can’t Spell!

My spelling is Wobbly. It’s good spelling but it Wobbles, and the letters get in the wrong places.

~A. A. Milne

My kids can’t spell! Maybe that is because I am not doing word study the right way. Diane Henry Leipzig says “Word study provides students with opportunities to investigate and understand the patterns in words. Knowledge of these patterns means that students needn’t learn to spell one word at a time.” I thought that spelling lists also did this. Each list has a pattern that is explicitly investigated. Kids need to investigate, I really like that word. And they need to talk about their findings. I pretty much gave this up when we were asked to “do” word study instead. I was under the mistaken impression the word study was playing with word wall words a few times a week.

As I read more about word study I am discovering that, yes, I have not been doing it the right way. I guess that can happen when you feel something extra was thrown at you without clear guidelines or expectations. On the otherhand, I am delighted to find that the “Spelling Units” I have been working so hard on this summer actually reflect good word study practices!


Teaching strategies

In word study, teachers encourage students to compare and contrast features in words. One common method for doing so is by having students sort words. When sorting, students use their word knowledge to separate examples that go together from those that don’t.

The first activity I plan to have my students do with their words is a word sort. They are also asked to add other words that they know fit the pattern. Some examples are provided.

In addition to sorting, students may hunt for words in their reading and writing that fit the pattern being studied, may construct a word wall illustrating examples of the different patterns studied, may keep a word study notebook to record the known patterns and their new understandings about words, or may play games and activities to apply their word knowledge (Bear et al., 2000).

Each of my spelling units has a “My Word Collection” flapbook for collecting words from reading. A gameboard is also included with each unit.

A cycle of instruction for word study might include the following:

  • introduce the spelling pattern by choosing words for students to sort
  • encourage students to discover the pattern in their reading and writing
  • use reinforcement activities to help students relate this pattern to previously acquired word knowledge

A Rhyme Time Foldable is included with each unit. Kids have the chance to write some fun couplets with pairs of words with the warning to pay close attention, or get help with possible varient spellings.

Teachers then test students’ pattern knowledge rather than their ability to memorize single words. For example, a teacher might have students work with twenty words during a word study cycle and then randomly test students on ten of those words. For students studying the -at family, a teacher might include the word “vat” on the spelling test even though it wasn’t on the initial spelling list – this allows the teacher to see if students are able to transfer their knowledge of the “at” chunk to a new word they haven’t seen before.

My spelling test, which is a scavenger hunt, has additional words (which may have  been seen at some point throughout the week, but not practiced) for students to apply the pattern being studies.

I am excited and validated by my studies this morning. My frustration with my students poor spelling led me to believe I needed to go back to spelling units. I ‘ve created units (7 done so far) incorporating what I strongly believe to be good practices. Now I know from my reading that I will also be doing a much better job with “word study”.

Spelling Boardgame


Spelling Gameboard

Directions: Decide who will go first. Player 2 picks up a card and reads it to player 1. Player 1 spells the word. If it is spelled correctly, player 1 may go one space for each letter in the word. If spelled incorrectly, player 1 does not move. Player 1 then reads a word for player 2 to spell.

My units come with cards for the game, but any list of words could be written on index cards. In fact, students could make the word cards themselves.

I am hoping the hours I am putting into creating Spelling/Word Study Units this summer will ease my frustration about poor spelling in my classroom.

If you are interested you can find my Spelling Units here.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on word study and any tips you have on making my kids better spellers!








Read More

Collecting Memories

Posted by on Jun 1, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.

~ Albert Einstein


The school year is almost over. This has been a difficult one for me. Some of my third graders required constant supervision, it was difficult even to take a restroom break. However, I hope they will take along with them some good memories of third grade and a feeling of being loved.

Next year will bring many changes. I will have a teaching partner. My students will have a “switch class”. I will have someone to brainstorm with about difficult students. I will know they will only be in my classroom for half the day.

This will be my last year teaching math and science. After 36 years of teaching these subjects I am sure I will miss them. I am looking forward to being able to focus my planning on language arts and social studies. As always, many ideas are swarming through my head. We will teach by genre next year. This excites me with possiblities!

Here is a freebie for collecting some memories. You could also use it with my End of Year Memory Collector Scavenger Hunt or on its own. 




I found this free product available from a brand new seller on TpT. Students fill in a newsletter-like form for a student in next year’s class.  Maybe you’d also like to check her out! Her store is called Some Kind of Teacher.


Read More