Sunday, November 11, 2012

Word Work - The Choice is Theirs

I've spent several weeks of the school year start up getting my grade one students trained to work independently so that I am free to work with them in small groups, or one on one. This training has given my students more confidence to be better able to make choices about their learning.  It's a strong philosophy behind the Daily 5 which I modify to make work for me.

Last year I rotated my students through word work activities all of the first term as a way to show them the different ways to practice their word work.  When January arrived I hesitantly let them go at it on their own. They pleasantly surprised me and we continued the rest of the year like that.  As they became more comfortable with words, the choices of activities they made to practice their words continued to better meet their individual academic needs.  I loved that because they were deciding where they needed to be.  Talk about getting my students to be independent learners. It was a win win for everyone.

This year after the required training period I decided to let my students go two months early than last year and to no surprise they haven't disappointed me.  To help them make decisions with their word work practice  I have a list clearly posted in my classroom of ways that they can practice their word work.  The list isn't complete but meant to be a starting point, particularly at this time of the year when reading and writing is still challenging for many.

Here are some photos of my students making choices about their word work practice.

Doodle Buddy

Plasticine Words

Word Wizard

Letter Beads

Draw Stars

Magnetic ABC

Word Wizard

Letter Beads

Stamp Pad

Letter Stickers

Plasticine Letters


  1. Our Word Work choices are very similar. I've recently given my students free choice of what they will work on - and they continue to amaze me! :) Love seeing the independent work in Grade 1!
    2 Questions:
    1. Where did you get your letter beads?
    2. Do you have a book where your students record their stamp letters/sticker letters? Right now we are using plain paper, but I'd really like a better system. It looks like you might have it! :)

    Thanks for sharing your work!


  2. Thank you for your comment Jenni. As you know from our interactions on twitter I love learning with you. As for my letter beads I purchase them at a local teacher's store. If you can't find any where you live let me know and I could send some your way. The store I buy mine from is called Collin's Educational here in Vancouver. Perhaps they can send them to you. With regards to the second question each of my students has a blank notebook simply called an activity book. We use it for "activites" that require paper for recording and it can cover any content area. For example when we were working on push and pull forces in sciences my student recorded their examples of push and pull there. If we need a place to record math, we use these notebooks. Since so much of what we do doesn't require paper these notebooks aren't used too often, but we have them when ever we need them Karen